ATLANTA (AP) – R&B singer Bobby Brown must turn himself in to jail officials by Sunday on charges he hit his wife, singer Whitney Houston.

A judge had ordered in May there was enough evidence for Brown to stand trial on misdemeanor battery charges for allegedly striking Houston in the face at their home near Alpharetta. The judge told Brown he must turn himself in by Sunday for fingerprinting, and he then would be released on $2,000 bail.

If he does not appear at the jail, a bench warrant could be issued for his arrest, said senior court clerk Lanny Lipsky. But he cautioned he’s not sure what action officials would decide to take.

Simple battery is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Normally on a first offense in domestic-violence cases, the charge is dismissed if the defendant undergoes counseling.

State court officials will not receive paperwork until Brown, 35, turns himself in, so no trial date had been set Friday.

“It could be as far down as a year before it comes up,” Lipsky said.

Houston called police Dec. 7 to report that Brown threatened to beat her “and then struck the left side of her face with an open right hand,” a Fulton County police report said.

In an interview with “Dateline NBC,” Brown called the incident a “little spat.” He said the two were playfully “slap boxing” and Houston took one of his jabs a “little serious.”

Brown has been jailed twice this year. In February, he spent a month in jail for multiple probation violations before being released a month early for a March child-support hearing in Massachusetts. There, he spent another night in jail before paying a former lover more than $60,000 in back child-support payments.

Brown’s lawyer, Maurice Bennett, said his client is doing well.

“He’s doing some very good things in his life,” he said.

Brown and Houston, 40, have been married since 1992 and have a 10-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina.

AP-ES-07-09-04 1629EDT

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.