Lindsay Lohan Plea Deal: One Day in Jail
Thursday, August 23, 2007; 10:56 PM
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Lindsay Lohan reached a plea deal Thursday on misdemeanor drunken driving and cocaine charges that calls for her to spend one day in jail, serve 10 days of community service and complete a drug treatment program.
She was also placed on 36 months probation, is required to complete an 18-month alcohol education program, pay hundreds of dollars in fines and must complete a three-day county coroner program in which she'll visit a morgue and talk to victims of drunken drivers.
"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.
She said she did things she was ashamed of. "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," Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers said after an hourlong hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge H. Chester Horn Jr.'s courtroom. Terms of the plea bargain were worked out in chambers.
If Lohan were to be convicted of another DUI, she would receive a mandatory 120-day jail sentence, Meyers said. If the actress violates her probation in any way, Meyers added, she could face even more time behind bars: up to a year on each of the drunk-driving and cocaine charges and 90 days on the reckless-driving charge.
"If she violates, it really is up to the judge" to determine the specific sentence, Meyers said.
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 second-time drunken-driving offenders by that January date.
"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 charged earlier in the day with seven misdemeanors stemming from two drunken-driving arrests in the last four months. More serious felony drug charges were not filed, prosecutors said, because tests showed there wasn't enough cocaine on her to warrant them.
Attorney Blair Berk (who also represented Mel Gibson in his drunken-driving case) entered pleas on Lohan's behalf: she pleaded guilty 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. Two counts of driving under the influence were dropped.
The judge sentenced Lohan to 96 hours in jail, the mandatory minimum for a second drunken-driving offense. Lohan was given credit for 24 hours already served, and she elected to complete 10 days of community service instead of 48 hours behind bars _ an option available to all two-time DUI offenders. She still must serve the balance of her sentence _ 24 hours _ in city or county jail, Meyers said.
Lohan is being treated at a residential drug-rehabilitation center in Utah. She will remain there for at least 30 days to satisfy her sentence on the cocaine charges, Meyers said.
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, but Meyers noted that "did not play a part in our agreement."
Lohan's legal problems come on the heels of two other high-profile celebrity DUI cases that resulted in jail time. Paris Hilton served 23 days behind bars 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.
Attorney Howard L. Weitzman, who represented Hilton in her probation-violation case, called the judge in Lohan's case "objective and fair."
Weitzman, who doesn't represent Lohan, added that she "appears to be doing what we would all want someone to do in this situation, 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."
Lohan's sentence Thursday was "the same thing that would happen with respect to anyone else," Meyers said. "And as long as that happens, justice is done."