Lil Za has just received a break. The rapper is no longer facing a felony vandalism charge for allegedly damaging a jailhouse phone after he was arrested for felony drug possession back in January.
The aspiring MC’s – real name Xavier Smith – vandalism charge has been downgraded to a misdemeanor because the phone was worth less than $400, which is the threshold figure for turning a less serious misdemeanor into a felony, TMZ reports.
Lil Za was busted during a police raid at friend Justin Bieber’s Calabasas, California, home, where the rapper was living at the time.
On January 14, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department swooped Bieber’s home following allegations made by a former neighbor claiming the singer egged his home days earlier. As a result, police seized the star’s home security surveillance system, iphone — and Lil Za.
Police said they came across drugs “in plain view” in a room used by Smith as a bedroom inside Bieber’s home and arrested Lil Za on suspicion of drug possession.
The drugs were later identified as MDMA (a form of ecstasy) and Oxycodone.
At the time, police said Bieber was not connected to Za’s drugs bust.
After he was led from Bieber’s home in handcuffs and taken to Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, police later said Za lost his temper while posting bail for his felony drug possession charge and damaged a phone. He was subsequently re-arrested and charged with felony vandalism.
However, it’s since been reported Bieber’s Los Angeles lawyers are trying to convince the Los Angeles District Attorney not to charge the Canadian with a felony for his alleged role in the egging, but a misdemeanor.
Tabloid reports previously stated the D.A had offered Bieber a plea deal and will most likely charge the singer with a misdemeanor.
Subsequent reports confirmed with the D.A’s office that no plea deal has been offered to Bieber. The office also said a decision on a charge — or not, was still pending.
A plea deal may still happen for Bieber though. If so, justifying a felony charge against Lil Za for damage to a phone would have been a tall order.
Accordingly, Za’s felony vandalism charge has been lowered to a felony misdemeanor charge.
CNN reports a prosecutor agreed to reduce a felony vandalism charge after admitting in court it did not meet the felony threshold.
Lil Za’s lawyer asked for more time before accepting a plea deal to settle drug and vandalism charges.
The case has been reset to April 30.