Actor Michael Madsen will face no charges from his recent arrest after a fight with his teenage son. Madsen was arrested on March 9 after police responded to a so-called “family disturbance” call to the actor’s Malibu home. He was arrested on suspicion of cruelty to a child and held on $100,000 bail. This week, that charge was dropped due to lack of evidence.

Marsden, 54, is best known for his roles in the Quentin Tarantino films “Kill Bill” and “Reservoir Dogs,” as well as “Thelma & Louise,” and “Free Willy.”

The Friday afternoon police intervention involved both Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and detectives from the LASD’s Special Victims Bureau, which specializes in investigating child abuse. The Special Victims Bureau was called because, it was alleged, Marsden was under the influence of alcohol when he fought with his teenage son. The teen did not require medical treatment after the altercation.

Marsden will not be allowed to go back to his life in peace, however. He pled no contest yesterday to a misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license. He was fined $300 plus penalty assessments and will be required to serve 12 months of probation on the traffic charge.

It can be hard to keep a cool head when we hear of someone being charged with cruelty to a child, child endangerment or another crime against a child. In this case, the press immediately latched on to the allegations, ensuring that readers throughout the LA area and across the nation were aware of them. Although Madsen is an established character actor, he does not appear in the headlines often, so the story was especially damaging to his reputation.

As it turns out, the child cruelty charges were baseless, but the damage is done. Far more people will remember the salacious rumor than will recall that there wasn’t enough evidence to back it up. If you are accused of a crime against a child, keep in mind that your reputation is at risk along with your freedom and make sure you get good legal advice.