Lindsay Lohan Faces House Arrest; How Bad Can It Be?

VIDEO: The actress will spend time cleaning the floors of a Los Angeles County morgue.
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When you live in a cushy home or have a staff to cater to your every need, in-home detention or rehab doesn't sound so bad.

Today, Lindsay Lohan's lawyer, Shawn Chapman Holley, entered a no-contest plea on the actress' misdemeanor theft charge, meaning Lohan, who did not appear in court, does not admit guilt but her case gets logged as a conviction.

Lohan, 24, allegedly stole a $2,500 necklace.

Last month, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner reduced the theft charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. Sautner also sentenced Lohan to 120 days in jail for violating her probation. In addition, the actress was ordered to serve 480 hours of community service at the Downtown Women's Center as well as janitorial duties at the L.A. County Coroner's department.

Today, Holley told the court that it appears as though Lohan will be approved to serve her time through house arrest, and elaborated at a press conference after the hearing.

"As they would with any other person with a similar sentence, sheriffs will determine if she is eligible for early release and electronic monitoring," she said.

L.A. County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said a 120-day sentence effectively gets reduced to 71 days because of good behavior, and because of overcrowding it is further reduced to about 14 days, even if Lohan serves her time at home.

Lohan must surrender to the sheriff's department on June 17, at which time a decision will be made on whether she qualifies for home monitoring.

However, in court, Sautner insisted that Lohan perform her likely house arrest and 480 hours of community service independent of each other.

"House arrest is house arrest," Sautner said. "You don't get to double dip."

Lohan also will be required to enroll in complete psychological counseling and a course about shoplifting. Sautner placed her under formal probation until November 2011, but it could be terminated sooner if she completes her community service.

The chances of the actress returning to jail, given the overcrowding in California, are looking slim.

"The reality of horrific jail overcrowding is that there's just not government resources to lock up people who commit non-violent offenses," L.A. criminal attorney Dana Cole told ABCNews.com.

That leaves home detention.

"To the public, it appears celebrities are getting away with something," Cole said. "There are restrictions. They can't just hang out and go to various places, but still, if they are living in some sort of mansion ..."

Lohan lives in an apartment in Venice Beach. But, Cole said, "It's still nice ... 1,000 times better than jail."

Cole conceded that home detention is "not hard-core punishment." While Lohan's movement would be restricted and she would have to account to someone every day, she still could have friends and family over and go out for work.

At the same time, he said, Lohan isn't getting away scot-free, given that she's already served 13 days' jail time on a previous probation violation and still has to perform community service.

Also, he said, people from all walks of life are given house arrest instead of jail time. But celebrities seem to get more of a break by virtue of their wealth.

Last year, former KB Home chief Bruce Karatz, who was convicted of mail fraud and providing false statements, was sentenced to eight months of GPS-monitored detention in his $18-million Bel Air, Calif., mansion.

In 2009, Roman Polanski traded a Swiss jail for six months of house arrest in his luxe Alpine chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland, before the Swiss declared him a free man. The Oscar-winning filmmaker had been facing extradition to the United States to face decades-old charges of sexual assault.

Martha Stewart and Paris Hilton also served sentences in their palatial estates.

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