Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless was charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for discharging a firearm in public early Saturday morning in Miami Beach, Fla., according to an arrest report.
The charge could carry a sentence of 364 days in prison and a $1,000 fine if convicted, but other options are available to avoid jail time, Miami State Attorney public information officer Ed Griffith told Press-Gazette Media.
Instead of jail, possible alternatives would be up to a year of probation, community service hours and a stay order from the witnesses or victims. A forfeiture of the weapon also could be part of a plea agreement, Griffith said.
Quarless has no previous charges in the state of Florida. As a first-time offender, Griffith said, Quarless also could be eligible for diversion programs. Two common programs connected to his charge are concealed weapons education and anger management courses.
"First-time offenders, unless they're violent crimes, tend to have much lesser penalties," Griffith said. "… The second time is when you really get in trouble."
Quarless was arrested at 5:35 a.m. (EDT) Saturday after firing two shots during an argument, according to the arrest report.
Miami Beach police say Quarless, a male driver and two female passengers were sitting in a parked, black Porsche when a white vehicle exited a nearby parking garage. Quarless and the driver stepped out of their car and approached the white vehicle, which contained "several" females, according to the report.
A conversation between the two parties was "initially passive," but "it progressively became hostile." A parking-garage attendant witnessed the incident and told police he heard the women in the white vehicle raising their voices and saying, "No, get away. Leave me alone."
The attendant witnessed Quarless racking a semi-automatic handgun, causing a round to be released from the chamber before loading a second round, police said. Quarless fired one shot to the sky, according to the report. The attendant heard the second shot as he returned to his booth.
Initially, according to the report, Quarless tried to hide within the outer area of a local restaurant. Police said he attempted to conceal the .45-caliber handgun in a potted plant. After pulling away from the parking garage, the white vehicle was not seen again.
Quarless was taken to the Miami Beach police station for questioning, along with other occupants of the Porsche. A female passenger told police Quarless discharged his gun "to emphasize his dominance and manhood," according to the report.
Quarless' only conviction in the state of Wisconsin was for speeding in Ozaukee County. Wisconsin state court records show he pleaded guilty March 29, 2012, to a charge of speeding 25 to 29 mph above the limit. He paid a fine of $301.30 and had his license suspended for 15 days.
Quarless is entering his sixth season with the Packers after being drafted in the fifth round in 2010. He started 11 games last season, catching 29 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns.
Quarless' starting job was expected to be threatened by second-year tight end Richard Rodgers when training camp opens July 30. It's unclear how Quarless' arrest affects that competition.
The Packers released a statement Saturday afternoon:
"We are aware of the matter involving Andrew Quarless and are in the process of gathering more information. We will withhold further comment."
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