Kiefer Sutherland Charged With Assault for Alleged Head-Butt

Alleged head-butt incident could have serious implications for "24" actor.

May 7, 2009 — -- Does Kiefer Sutherland think his Jack Bauer act extends to real life?

The "24" star appeared to take the law into his own hands (or head) early Tuesday morning when he allegedly head-butted fashion designer Jack McCollough outside a New York City nightclub.

If McCollough had a bomb strapped to his chest or a nuclear detonator in his pocket, Sutherland's reported outburst may have been acceptable. He could've thrown in a collar-grab and a throaty growl for good measure.

But seeing as how McCollough claims to have been minding his own business and not posing a threat to anyone, the "I just got wrapped up in my role" defense may not fly: Sutherland was charged with misdemeanor assault after going into a New York City police station for questioning Thursday afternoon. He was given a ticket, ordered to appear in court June 22 and released.

A representative for the Proenza Schouler designer Wednesday told People magazine, "Anyone who knows Jack McCollough knows that he would not hurt a fly. All we can say at this point is that he was the victim of a vicious, violent, unprovoked assault and that the matter is in the hands of the authorities."

Some reports claim McCollough bumped into actress Brooke Shields outside the New York City nightclub SubMercer Tuesday night, didn't apologize, allegedly causing Sutherland to fly off the handle. But representatives for Shields claim the designer, who is friends with the actress, did nothing to her.

Sutherland could face tough punishment in Los Angeles, where he's in the middle of a five-year probation for a DUI conviction whose terms clearly state he must "obey all laws."

Breaking probation could mean a return to jail. In late 2007 and early 2008, Sutherland spent 48 days in jail for his second DUI conviction and a probation violation.

The alleged head-butting incident is the latest of Sutherland's many run-ins with the law. His first occurred in 1989, when he was arrested for DUI and carrying a concealed and loaded weapon. In a deal with prosecutors, Sutherland pleaded no contest to alcohol-related reckless driving, and the other charges were dropped.

Sutherland's Legal Drama

In 1993, he was arrested again for DUI, and pleaded out the same way he did four years earlier. He also performed more than 200 hours of community service.

Sutherland racked up his third DUI arrest in 2004, pleaded no contest, and was sentenced to five years' probation. His 2007 DUI arrest violated the terms of that probation.

More jail time could spell doom for Sutherland's career and "24." The eighth season of the Fox drama is set to start production at the end of May. Season seven was delayed because of the Hollywood writers strike, which took "24" off the air for a full year.

As often happens in "24," the clock is ticking. Sutherland's going to have to pull some Jack Bauer-type moves to maneuver his way out of this latest mess.