Anthony Michael Hall of 'The Breakfast Club' convicted of assault

In his teens, Anthony Michael Hall became known and loved as the skinny, geeky kid in the 80s hits "The Breakfast Club," "Sixteen Candles" and "Weird Science," among others. Now 48, the former teen star has had a successful ongoing career in movies and television.

He apparently also had an ongoing dispute with a neighbor in his Playa del Rey, California, gated condo complex. Last September, he and the neighbor got into an argument, apparently after the neighbor left a complex gate open.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the incident escalated into a physical fight. Hall apparently threw the other man to the ground, injuring him. The neighbor sustained a back injury and a broken wrist. The incident was caught on videotape.

Hall was charged with felony battery. A plea bargain got that charge reduced to assault with force likely to produce great bodily harm, a misdemeanor. Hall pled no contest.

After the incident in September, the neighbor was able to obtain a temporary restraining order against Hall. He claims there were several earlier run-ins with Hall at their community. However, the man did not seek to have the TRO turned into a permanent injunction for no contact.

Hall has been sentenced to serve 40 hours of community service and three years' probation.

When we grow up watching a celebrity, it's easy to feel as if we know him. When we read newspaper articles about them getting involved in criminal activity, we often feel as if we know their character and can tell whether they're innocent or guilty.

The truth is that most news reports get all of their facts from police reports or prosecution statements. They don't give us both sides of the story.

Although Hall has pled no contest to the misdemeanor charge against him, all we can truly know is that the plea seemed like the best solution to an uncomfortable situation.

If you find yourself accused of assault or any other criminal offense, don't give up -- and don't assume pleading guilty is your best option. An experienced criminal defense attorney can protect your rights while helping you determine the best way forward.

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