Bobby Brown turned himself in on Wednesday and was charged with misdemeanor battery three days after he allegedly struck wife Whitney Houston in the face. The blow was supposedly delivered in the midst of an argument in their home during which Brown reportedly threatened to "beat her ass."

The couple appeared together at the Fulton County Magistrate's Court in Dunwoody, Georgia, according to Fulton County Police Department spokesperson Corporal Kurtis Young.

Police were still seeking Brown, 34, as of Tuesday night, when they returned to the couple's Alpharetta home and spoke to Houston a second time to see if the 40-year-old singer had heard from her husband. Brown was originally thought to have flown to California following the fight, but Young said it was unclear if he had left the state (see "Bruised Whitney Houston Calls Police After Alleged Altercation With Bobby Brown").

Brown appeared with his lawyer before a judge Wednesday afternoon and was charged with one count of misdemeanor battery under Georgia's domestic-violence law, which allows the state to file charges when domestic violence is suspected, whether or not the victim cooperates. "Once the allegation is reported, she doesn't have the option of whether or not to press charges," Young explained.

Brown was released on a signature bond and ordered to return to court on January 7. If he fails to do so, a bench warrant will be issued for his arrest.

The charge of simple battery carries a sentence of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Young said a first domestic-violence offense is sometimes dismissed or suspended if the defendant enrolls in marriage or anger-management counseling. Houston, who appeared in court with a bruise visible on her left cheek, held hands with Brown while in court and the pair left with their arms around each other as Houston exclaimed, "We're still together," according to Young. Houston then sang along to the Aretha Franklin song "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" as the couple drove away in their SUV.

Whitney's publicist issued a statement Wednesday from a family spokesperson that read, "Bobby Brown is very apologetic about what happened and hopes his wife forgives him."