Monday, May 28, 2007

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Expert: Lindsay Lohan Charges No Big Deal
May 28, 2007
(CBS) Charges stemming from Lindsay Lohan's latest vehicular accident probably won't amount to much, a leading defense attorney said Monday.

CBS News consultant Mickey Sherman says Lohan isn't "in as deep problems as you would think."

Lohan was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after her 2005 Mercedes SL-65 convertible hit a curb at 5:30 Saturday morning. Authorities said they found what they believe to be cocaine at the scene.

The actress, 20, and two other people were in the car her when it crashed on Sunset Boulevard, and it appeared she was speeding, police said.

Officers at the scene found a "usable amount" of a drug tentatively identified as cocaine, a police spokesman said.

Photos: Celebrity Mug Shots
Lohan, who spent time in rehab earlier this year, was driven in another car to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, police said. The two other people in her car weren't hurt.

Officers got a 911 call about the accident and arrested Lohan at the hospital for investigation of misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, police said.

Photos: A Year of Lohan
She was released from custody because she was admitted to the hospital, they added.

"As far as we know," Sherman told co-anchor Hannah Storm on The Early Show Monday, "she doesn't have a record for DWI (driving while intoxicated), she doesn't have a prior conviction and, unlike Paris Hilton, to our knowledge, she's not on probation for any of these things.

"So, even listless, misguided, spoiled celebrities are often entitled to, you know, a first bite at the apple. In all likelihood she'll get some type of diversionary program or first offender program.

"But the fact that it's just a usable quality, (as opposed to) a selling quantity, she's not going to be charged with anything extraordinarily serious, as far as the cocaine's concerned..

Photos: Livin' La Vida Lohan
"Plus, you have a gap. She wasn't in the car. She went to get help. You know, she could always say, (and it) may or may not be true, that she had drinks after, in fact, the accident and before she got to the emergency room. Sounds contrived, but it often happens."

So, Storm asked, there might not be any sort of blood alcohol test that would be admissible in court?

"Well," Smerman responded, "(there) may be, but the question is, how relevant can it be, because if she says, 'Just before I went to the hospital, I was so upset, I went across the street to the bar and had drinks.' You know, that may not be supported by facts, but, you know, eventually the police are going to get to the hospital, get the records, find out if there's alcohol in her system — and don't forget the charge is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. So, if they can show that she had an opiate in her system, that could convict her as well. Then again, it appears to be a first offense and the key thing is, nobody got hurt except a couple of trees off Sunset (Blvd.)."

Technically, Sherman noted, when Lohan left the scene to go to the hospital, "That's a crime. Then again, it's not like she took the plates off the car or had somebody remove the car. She left the car there, her Mercedes is there, registered to her or her people, as we say, so I don't think that's a big deal, (that) she left the scene. It would be had she hit somebody and there were injuries. But just herself, it's a crime, but it's like an infraction, not a big deal."

Sherman added, "The Internet is filled with her coming from the bar, running from the -- from her car after the accident. This woman doesn't do anything that's not videoed. So, she's under enormous pressure. In all likelihood, a judge will order her, or her lawyer will say, 'Get some help before they even order you to do it.' "

The weekend crash was Lohan's third accident in roughly two years.

In October 2005, Lohan and a passenger sustained minor injuries when her convertible hit a van in West Hollywood. Authorities said the van driver, who also received minor injuries, was at fault.

Months earlier, Lohan collided with a minivan when she made a U-turn as the van, carrying paparazzi, followed her from a Los Angeles restaurant. A photographer was arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon but prosecutors declined to charge him.

That crash was credited with prompting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign a law that set steep financial penalties for paparazzi who commit assaults while trying to obtain celebrity photos.