chris brown*The moment we heard Chris Brown was popped for being in an altercation Sunday morning, we immediately thought about how it could affect this parole status.

Apparently LA County Probation Department was thinking the same thing. They’ve launched an investigation into Chris Brown’s D.C. arrest to determine if it constitutes a violation of his probation in the Rihanna beating case.

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Interestingly, the Probation Dept. found out about the arrest from Chris’ lawyer, Mark Geragos.  Making a pre-emptive move, Geragos called them Sunday morning, after Brown got busted, to inform them of what went down.

Sources familiar with the situation tell TMZ … Probation officials have been in contact with D.C. authorities.  Probation investigators will conduct their own investigation, and determine if there’s good reason to believe Brown committed a crime when he allegedly punched a man in the nose Sunday morning.

The Probation Dept. will submit its report to the judge in the Rihanna case, who will decide if Brown’s probation should be revoked.  In a worst case scenario, Brown would be given 4 years in prison for a probation violation.

Watch Chris Brown being released from jail:

(If you don’t see the above video via your mobile device, click here.)