Chad Johnson, free agent NFL wideout who was released from his hometown Miami Dolphins after a domestic dispute with "Basketball Wives" star Evelyn Lozada on Aug 11, may be facing prison time stemming from the incident.
Lozada, 36-year-old reality television star who married Johnson on July 4, pressed charges against the football player after the domestic dispute took place. While Johnson was reportedly facing a misdemeanor charge initially, Gossip Extra reported that the free agent may now face one year in prison for felony charges.
A past domestic dispute with an ex-girlfriend 12 years ago may cause authorities to upgrade the athlete's charge, according to Gossip Extra. According to TMZ, Johnson reportedly slapped his anonymous ex-girlfriend from college, which resulted in the athlete having to complete a domestic violence batterers' treatment program in 2002.
The website obtained a status report from the program which said Johnson "struggled initially with accepting the need to make lifestyle changes as well as minimizing his past behavior," according to TMZ. Now, some are predicting that Johnson's past issues may result in him serving a mandatory stint in prison.
Paul Molle, a Fort Lauderdale attorney, gave Gossip Extra some insight into the situation, saying that he has seen other people serve time behind bars with cases similar to Johnson's.
"Florida law indeed gives that power to prosecutors," said Molle, who is not serving as a member of Johnson's legal council. "Whether the previous incident happened in California or Florida, it doesn't make a difference. I've seen it done with other suspects."
However, Florida State Attorney spokesman Ron Ishoy remained tight-lipped about the matter when speaking to the gossip website.
"Our office does not disclose our filing options with the media before charges are filed," Ishoy said.
While the consequences for Johnson allegedly headbutting Lozada have yet to be determined, the footballer decided to release a public statement taking responsibility for his actions soon after the incident made its way to multiple media headlines.
"I would like to apologize to everyone for the recent events that have occurred. I would like to wish Evelyn well and will never say anything bad about her because I truly love her to death," Johnson said in the statement on his website. "I will continue to be positive and train hard for another opportunity in the NFL. To all the fans and supporters I have disappointed, you have my sincerest apologies."