Penn won Academy Awards for his work in Mystic River and Milk
Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn has been charged with misdemeanour battery and vandalism after allegedly attacking a photographer in Los Angeles last year.
The charges relate to an incident on 2 October in the Brentwood area of the city in which he is alleged to have kicked a photographer in the leg.
The 49-year-old will be arraigned on 22 March, a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office said on Friday.
The actor faces a maximum of 18 months in jail if convicted.
Penn, who won his second Oscar last year for Milk, was sentenced to 60 days in jail in 1987 after attacking a photographer on a film set.
He was also involved in an altercation with a member of the paparazzi at the funeral of his brother Christopher in 2006.
The latest alleged altercation came to light after video of the incident was shown on celebrity news website TMZ.com.
Los Angeles County prosecutors had earlier declined to file charges against Penn, saying they did not believe the case merited felony charges.
Misdemeanour charges are not as serious as felony charges in the US but may still incur jail time if proved.