Word that the LAPD is still investigating Chris Brown for allegedly beating Rihanna earlier this month raises the question: will he actually do time?
So far, no charges of any kind have been filed against Brown, 19, who was arrested February 8 for allegedly assaulting and threatening the R&B star, 21.
He was booked for making criminal threats – a felony – but the case has not been presented to the D.A., who will ultimately determine what charges to file.
Ultimately, the injuries suffered by the victim will determine whether the singer faces a charge carrying a likely penalty of probation – or go to jail.
As shocking as the high-profile case is, even ugly-looking domestic assaults don't necessarily mean automatic jail terms, according to legal experts.
For a first-time defendant, as Chris Brown would be, the charge would hinge largely on how badly the victim was injured. The victim's cooperation with authorities and whether the victim initiated the fight are less important factors.
"After examining the evidence, the injuries usually speak for themselves," says an L.A. defense attorney. "Either they rise to a felony level or they don't."
The distinction between a misdemeanor charge and felony is an important one. A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by up to a year in county jail, but most domestic violence cases ultimately result in just probation and counseling.
Meanwhile, Rihanna has resurfaced on the beach in Punta Mita, Mexico, having previously spent time in Los Angeles and her native Barbados since the attack.
She does not appear to show any of the bruising that was so visible in the chilling leaked police photo that sparked controversy and an internal investigation.
The images were reportedly snapped at a private villa on Saturday. Click to enlarge two more Rihanna pictures from the beach in Mexico ...