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Flavor Flav pleads guilty to domestic violence charges, avoids trial

Flavor Flav poses at  his Flavor Flav House of Flavor Take Out Restaurant on March 14, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Story highlights

  • Flavor Flav avoids a trial on felony charges with misdemeanor plea
  • The rapper was arrested after an argument at his Las Vegas home in October 2012
  • Sentence includes domestic counseling with his girlfriend's teen son
  • He gained fame as Public Enemy's hype man, but now makes reality TV shows

Rapper and reality TV star Flavor Flav pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence charges in Las Vegas Monday.

The plea deal allows the Public Enemy hype man to avoid a trial on felony charges, which could have sent him to prison for several years.

Instead, Flav -- real name William Jonathan Drayton Jr. -- must stay out of trouble during a year of probation and attend 12 domestic counseling sessions with his longtime girlfriend's teenage son.

He was arrested after an argument involving a kitchen knife in his Las Vegas home in October 2012. Flav, 55, was initially charged with child abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and battery domestic violence.

Las Vegas prosecutors agreed to reduce the charges to two misdemeanors counts, including attempted battery with substantial bodily harm and battery constituting domestic violence, according to Tess Driver, spokeswoman for the Clark County, Nevada, district attorney.

Along with the year of probation and counseling requirement, he was given credit for the time he served in jail after he was arrested and before he was released on bond, Driver said.

Although he gained fame with the groundbreaking rap group Public Enemy starting in the late 1980s, Flav, with his collection of clock necklaces, became a reality TV star over the last decade. He began as a cast member of VH1's "Surreal Life" in 2004, which spawned "Strange Love" in 2005 and three seasons of "Flavor of Love" from 2006 to 2008.