Having pleaded not guilty to assault and criminal threats in conjunction with a brutal "alleged" attack on Rihanna at his arraignment Monday, Chris Brown now has three weeks until his next court date April 29 to hammer out a plea deal.
Whether he succeeds will depend, in large part, on who blinks first - presumably, a plea bargain would have already been agreed upon if the D.A. would let Brown avoid serving jail time, which his lawyers are actively seeking.
But so far, no agreement.
Will Brown agree to a shorter jail sentence in order to avoid a protracted trial and the maximum four year, eight month sentence he's facing? Or will the D.A. not want to potentially risk any chance of losing and agree to a slap on the wrist?
Either way, Chris Brown is 19. His life will go on, and as far as the future is concerned, the more important question for him is whether his career can be saved.
It will be a tough sell. There's not much positive spin you can put on violence against women, and he beat up a singer more popular than himself! Expressing his deepest regret while acting like a tool on a jet ski in Florida didn't help.
A contrite statement about the seriousness of his alleged crimes - no matter what his sentence ends up being - would be a good start in rebuilding his image.
Rather than crying and blaming others or pressures in his life, an admission of guilt and sincere, public apology to Rihanna and fans would go a long way.
His attorneys have almost certainly suggest he do nothing while a plea deal is being worked on, and that strategy has its merits, but the longer he waits to acknowledge mistakes he clearly made, the harder it will be to recover from them.
Instead of admitting that domestic violence is wrong, or that assault and abuse are serious issues, Brown has yet to express anything at all, leaving himself open to speculation that he has no problem with smacking women around.
Maybe that's unfair, but it's also reality. Without a proactive approach, one of music's brightest stars could be ready to "kiss, kiss" his career goodbye.
Click to enlarge more photos of Brown in court Monday: