T.I.'s Fate Will Be In The Court's Hands On Friday

While the rapper made a plea deal, his sentencing isn't set in stone.

On October 14, 2007, on the eve of the BET Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta, T.I. was arrested after attempting to illegally purchase weapons, and a search of his home turned up even more firearms. He was convicted on the felony weapons charges, and it seemed as if his career could be in jeopardy and he would be sentenced to years behind bars.

But [url id="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/t_i_/artist.jhtml"]Tip[/url] was able to secure a plea deal last March that suggested if he completed 1,000 hours of community service before sentencing, paid a $100,000 fine and agreed to complete another 500 hours of community service after his jail time, he would be sentenced to a year and a day in prison. The sentence is notable, according to legal experts, because of the specific length. If T.I. were to be sentenced to one year in prison, for example, he would be required to complete the entire sentence. But, similar to Lil' Kim's case a few years ago, a sentence of one year and one day could allow T.I. to be released earlier for good behavior, if warranted.

From the series finale of Tip's MTV show "Road to Redemption," which aired on Tuesday (March 24), we know that his upcoming sentencing on Friday isn't a slam dunk — and we don't know what will follow immediately afterward, either. According to Vibe's April cover story, Tip will most likely report to jail within a 30- to 60-day time frame.

Nothing is guaranteed Friday beyond Tip's appearance in court. What allowed T.I. to strike his unique deal in the first place was a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in January 2005 that said federal sentencing guidelines were suggested and not mandatory.

It's not the ideal situation to be in, but T.I. seems to be handling it well. Late last year, he told MTV News he was mentally preparing for his prison time. He said he would spend his incarceration planning his activity after his release, which is expected to include writing rhymes. Earlier this month, he said he has at least 19 new songs recorded already for his next album.

"Presumably, while I'm there, I'll be able to strategize my comeback," Tip said in 2008. "All those days will be spent speaking to people who are interested in being in the T.I. business. Preparing myself for the days those doors open, when I put my feet back on the ground of the free world. It's just months of planning. It's just a long time to roll the project out. I ain't gonna just be sitting still doing nothing. The wheels will be turning, just the car ain't going nowhere."