Saturday, August 25, 2007

Lohan Could Face Years In Jail With Probation Violation

Part Of Actress' Plea Is 36 Months Probation Period
August 24, 2007

Lindsay Lohan, now in her third rehab stint this year, could face years of jail time if she relapses again.

As part of the plea deal she accepted Thursday for seven misdemeanors stemming from two drunken-driving arrests, the 21-year-old actress was sentenced to 36 months probation.

If she violates any of its terms, Lohan would open herself up to a stretch of more than four years behind bars.

She could be hit with a year on each of two drunk-driving charges and each of two cocaine charges, plus up to 90 days on a reckless driving charge, said Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers.

Also, Meyers noted, a third DUI conviction would carry a mandatory 120-day jail sentence.

In addition to the 36 months of probation, Lohan was sentenced to 96 hours in jail, an 18-month alcohol-education program and 30 days in a residential rehab clinic. She was also ordered to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and complete a three-day county coroner program in which she'll visit a morgue and talk to victims of drunken drivers.

Though she was sentenced to 96 hours behind bars, Lohan will serve just 24.

She was given credit for 24 hours already served, and she elected to complete 10 days of community service instead of 48 hours in jail - an option available to all two-time drunken-driving offenders.

She still must serve the balance of her sentence - 24 hours - in city or county jail, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge H. Chester Horn, Jr. said.

Two counts of driving under the influence were dropped in the plea deal. Attorney Blair Berk pleaded guilty on Lohan's behalf to two counts of being under the influence of cocaine; no contest to two counts of driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent and one count of reckless driving.

"It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs," Lohan said in a statement released by publicist Leslie Sloane Zelnik.

"Recently, I relapsed and did things for which I am ashamed. I broke the law and today I took responsibility by pleading guilty to the charges in my case."

"She's getting what everyone else would get," Meyers said after the hourlong hearing.

Terms of the plea bargain were worked out in chambers.

Lohan has until Jan. 18, 2008, to complete her jail time, community service and residential drug-rehabilitation program. She must also show proof of enrollment in the 18-month alcohol-education program required of all two-time DUI offenders by that January date.

Lohan is being treated at a residential drug-rehabilitation center in Utah and will remain there for at least 30 days to satisfy her sentence on the cocaine charges, Meyers said.

"No matter what I said when I was under the influence on the day I was arrested, I am not blaming anyone else for my conduct other than myself. I thank God I did not injure others. I easily could have," Lohan's statement went on.

Lohan was arrested on May 26 in Beverly Hills and on July 24 in Santa Monica. In each incident the amount of cocaine tested was below the .05 grams required for felony charges, according to the district attorney's office.

Each of Lohan's arrests were followed by trips to rehab. Lohan's legal problems come on the heels of two other high-profile Hollywood celebrity DUI cases that resulted in jail time.

Paris Hilton served 23 days behind bars in June after she was found guilty of driving on a suspended license while on probation for an alcohol-related reckless-driving case.

Nicole Richie was ordered to serve four days in jail stemming from a December DUI arrest.

She checked in and out of the women's jail in Lynwood on Thursday after serving less than two hours.

Howard L. Weitzman, who represented Hilton in her probation-violation case, called the judge in Lohan's case "objective and fair." "Ms. Lohan herself appears to be doing what we would all want someone to do in this situation," he said, "which is be accountable for her actions and take responsibility for her conduct and make a meaningful effort to change her life."

Lohan crashed her Mercedes-Benz into a tree on Sunset Boulevard in May and fled the scene to seek medical treatment. Police tests revealed that a white powder found in Lohan's purse was .04 grams of cocaine.

Lohan checked into the posh Promises rehabilitation facility in Malibu after the incident. She left the facility July 13 after six weeks of treatment. She was photographed wearing an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet after her release.

Lohan was arrested again on July 24 following a 911 call by Michelle Peck, the mother of Lohan's former personal assistant. Peck told police she was being chased by an SUV. Police later said Lohan was the driver. Lohan's blood-alcohol level was between 0.12 and 0.13 percent when police found her, officials said.

Police also found a white powder in her pocket that was determined to be .02 grams of cocaine.

Lohan started 2007 in rehab at the Wonderland Center in Los Angeles.

Lohan's latest film, "I Know Who Killed Me," opened in July to lackluster response. "I very much want to be healthy and gain control of my life and career and have asked for medical help in doing so. I am taking these steps to improve my life," Lohan said in her statement. "Luckily, I am not alone in my daily struggle and I know that people like me have succeeded. Maybe with time it will become easier. I hope so."