Chicago Bears Player Arrested for Theft and Assault After South Beach Nightclub Fight

May 25, 2011 by David S. Seltzer

As a Miami theft criminal defense attorney, I was interested to see theft charges against a high-profile defendant — a football player most recently with the Chicago Bears. According to a May 23 article from NBC Miami, Garrett Wolfe, who will be a free agent when the NFL lockout ends, was arrested early the morning before for refusing to pay a bar tab and fighting officers who responded. Wolfe, a 26-year-old running back, was drinking at the Cameo nightclub in Miami Beach before things got out of hand. He is facing charges of retail theft, resisting a police officer with violence, disorderly conduct and assault on a police officer.

Reports said Wolfe was kicked out of the bar early Sunday after refusing to pay a bill for three bottles of champagne, which totaled nearly $1,600. After he started arguing with the staff, bouncers kicked him out and police responded. When the police asked Wolfe to settle his bill, the police report says he responded “F--- you, I’m not paying for s---, I run s--- here!” That was followed by a physical scuffle in which officers said they were forced to hit Wolfe in the face and knock him onto the ground. Injuries to his face are visible in his booking photo. Two officers said they also suffered minor injuries. He was eventually arrested and hit with the four charges, and later released on a bond of $11,500. The incident may hurt Wolfe’s future as a free agent, which was already in doubt because of the lockout.

The lockout angle will interest many football fans, who have noticed that Wolfe would already be in training under normal circumstances. But as a Fort Lauderdale assault criminal defense lawyer, I’d like to discuss the specific charges Wolfe faces. As I’ve written here before, “resisting an officer” is frequently charged by police officers who don’t happen to like the defendant’s attitude, personality or looks. Disorderly conduct is another law that can be used in that way. Frequently, an experienced criminal attorney can mount a strong defense against both. In this case, Wolfe’s case is complicated by the retail theft charge, which presumably stems from the bill for the champagne, and the charge of assault on a police officer. Depending on the circumstances, a south Florida resisting arrest defense attorney could make a deal allowing Wolfe to plead to those charges and pay for the champagne in exchange for dropping the other charges.

If you’re charged with resisting an officer in Florida, especially if there was violence involved, you need the help of an experienced defense lawyer to clear your name and avoid burdensome penalties. Seltzer Law, P.A., represents defendants throughout South Florida from our offices in downtown Miami — and because arrests and charges don’t stop when business hours do, we answer client calls 24 hours a day and seven days a week. To learn more or set up a free case evaluation, call toll-free at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333) or send us a message through our website.