Brown, who has had brushes with the law before, was arrested early Thursday in Atlanta on drug and traffic charges.
He posted $1,500 bond, then was taken to suburban DeKalb County, where he was wanted for failing to appear in court on 1997 charges that included driving under the influence, speeding, failing to maintain a lane and having no proof of insurance.
Brown, whose wife is singer Whitney Houston, was released on $10,000 bond and scheduled to appear for a hearing Friday in DeKalb's Superior Court.
In Atlanta, an officer at the city jail said Brown was charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, speeding and having no driver's license or proof of insurance.
Brown, 33, was stopped around 2:30 a.m. driving a Cadillac Escalade. Several others in the sport utility vehicle were not arrested, Atlanta police Sgt. R. Miniatis said. Houston was not among them.
Both Brown and Houston have had drug- or alcohol-related legal problems in the past. He spent 26 days in a Florida jail in 2000 for violating parole on a 1996 drunken-driving conviction by not submitting to a drug test.
Houston, 39, was charged with having marijuana in her purse at a Hawaii airport in 2000, but the misdemeanor charge was dismissed.
Brown was a member of the R&B group New Edition, but left in the late '80s for a solo career, and recorded hits including "My Prerogative" and "Every Little Step." He rejoined the group for "Home Again," a reunion album that debuted at the top of pop charts in 1996.