Johnson was in court following his arrest following a probation violation and had worked out a plea deal with prosecutors that would have kept him out of jail. But as Johnson and his lawyer were in the courtroom, Johnson playfully slapped his male lawyer's posterior, drawing the ire of Broward Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh, TMZ.com said.
After being chastised for not "taking this whole thing seriously," Johnson's lawyer asked the court for a brief recess. When Johnson returned, it was with a decidedly more contrite demeanor, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Monday.
"I had no intent to make this a joke. It's not funny," he said. "My life is in a shambles right now, and I try my best to laugh and to keep a smile on my face."
Johnson, 35, was arrested in 2012 for domestic battery after his then-wife, the reality television star Evelyn Lozada, said Johnson head-butted her during an argument. The incident led to the end of their brief marriage.
Johnson pleaded no contest and was sentenced to probation. He was arrested this year for failing to show up for a meeting with his probation officer and an arrest warrant was issued.
The original deal would have seen Johnson's probation extended by three months in addition to 25 hours of community service and twice weekly counseling sessions.
After his courtroom display, McHugh kept those terms but added the 30-day jail sentence.
Johnson was a six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots. He was traded to Miami in the winter of 2011 but the team released him after news of his arrest and he never played a game there.
The former Chad Ochocinco (he legally changed his last name to the Spanish version of his jersey number, 83, before changing it back to Johnson last year) is not signed to any NFL roster at present.