TODAY   |  February 09, 2013

Teenager apologizes after flipping off judge

Penelope Soto, 18, was back in court on Friday to ask that the contempt of court charges be dropped. “My behavior was very irrational and I apologize not only to you and court, but to my family,” Soto said. NBC’s Charles Hadlock reports.

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>>> you may have seen this video this week of a teenager in south florida flipping off and cursing at a judge in court. left a lot of people with their mouths hanging open. the judge threw the book at her. by friday, she had a chance to make amends. so how did it go? here's the story from charles hadlock.

>> reporter: a much more contrite penelope soto was back in court on friday, along with her family and her attorney to ask that the felony contempt of court charges be dropped.

>> my behavior was very irrational. and i apologize not only to the court and you but to my family.

>> reporter: it was a far different demeanor than soto 's first appearance in court last monday on charges of possession of xanax. soto , who is 18, had no prior run-ins with the law. so dade county circuit judge jose rodriguez shamot set bail at $5,000.

>> bye-bye.

>> adios.

>> reporter: but adios was too smart alecy for the judge.

>> come back.

>> reporter: the judge doubled the bail.

>> bail is $10,000.

>> are you serious?

>> i am serious. adios.

>> reporter: that's when soto flipped the bird.

>> come back again.

>> reporter: that's when the judge --

>> come back again.

>> reporter: piled on the charges.

>> i believe i heard you saying to --

>> yes, i did. i'm not going --

>> i believe you -- but say [ bleep ]?

>> actually --

>> did you say that?

>> yes, sir, i did.

>> but say that? i find you in criminal contempt . 30 days in the county jail .

>> that's fine.

>> when there's outrageous disrespect, the judge has to do something meaningful. here it was jail time.

>> reporter: after four nights in jail, soto apologized to the judge and explained cha that she was still high on -- explained that she was still high on alcohol and xanax when she appeared in court and volunteered to attend a drug rehabilitation clinic. a much more forgiving judge vacated soto 's 30-day sentence and even suggested that if she kicks her drug habit , she might have a bright future.

>> want to be full health --

>> reporter: maybe, but she'll have to learn how to watch her tongue first. for "today," charles hadlock, nbc news.