He finished his High School studies at Werneck School in Petrópolis, and received a law degree in 1979 from the Estácio de Sá University in Rio de Janeiro.
Roberto Jefferson is married to Ecila Brasil Jefferson Francisco. Jefferson remained in MDB until 1979, when he went to the Progressive Party (Partido Popular (Popular Party)). Jefferson and his party were one of the key supporters of right wing Fernando Collor de Mello government, and a key defender in Congress during the influence peddling scandal which led to Collor to impeachment.
In 1993, he was cited in a congressional report which investigated bribery in the congressional budgeting committee as an individual who should be "investigated further".
Ultimately his financial assets were deemed compatible with his declared income, though undeclared assets were foundation In 1999, he became leader of the PTB party in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies.
He continued as their leader until 2002. In February 2003, PTB elected him as its National President.
In 2005, Jefferson became involved in a corruption scandal related to the Correios, the Brazilian postal administration.
The scandal included dozens of parliamentarians of the government"s coalition and two government ministers, among others, resulting in the indictment of forty people by the Supreme Federal Tribunal, for their alleged role in one of the country"s biggest corruption scandals in recent years. He was expelled from Congress on September 14, 2005, stemming from his actions in the Correios scandal. The expulsion bars him from being elected to any public office until 2015.
His political career began officially in 1971, when he joined the MDB (known as PMDB since 1979) party.