A Los Angeles judge today gave Lindsay Lohan a deadline of March 25 to decide whether she wants to accept a plea deal or go to trial on a felony charge of stealing a $2,500 necklace.
The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz made it clear that any deal in his courtroom later this month would involve jail time.
If Lohan rejects the plea offer, she is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing in front of another judge on April 22 to determine whether there is enough evidence for her to stand trial.
The judge was visibly upset that some news outlets have reported details of the plea negotiations.
"Thankfully, this case doesn't involve military secrets," he said of the outlets reporting the plea deal. "These guys ought to be in the foreign services. They ought to hook up with the CIA and work for them. I don't even tell my wife what's going on, so I can't understand how they find out. It's not fair to either side to have these things leaked out in dribs or drabs. It doesn't benefit anybody, so please try to keep every offer I made confidential, and that's that."
Scwhartz has ordered any other motions relevant to the case to be filed in writing and under seal.
Clad in a gold leather tunic and black tights, Lohan, accompanied by her mother, Dina, stayed silent for most of the hearing in a Los Angeles courtroom, seated next to her lawyer, Shawn Chapman Holley.
If convicted, Lohan could go to California state prison for as long as three years. The 24-year-old actress already has been to jail three times in the past three years for DUI, drug possession and probation violations.
California criminal defense attorney Dana Cole thinks it's unlikely Lohan will serve time for the jewelry case.
"No one's cutting her any breaks," he told ABCNews.com. "This is not a major felony case at all. I doubt she will do any jail time on this felony. It could get reduced to a misdemeanor. The question is the probation violation. That will only be dealt with after the necklace caper is resolved in one way or the other."
At Lohan's last appearance on Feb. 23, Judge Keith Schwartz set her bail at $40,000 -- $20,000 each for the felony charge and for violation of her probation stemming from her 2007 DUI case. The judge warned Lohan that any plea deal would involve jail time.
"If you plead in front of me, you are going to jail, period!" Schwartz told Lohan during the February hearing. He reiterated that in today's hearing.
Lohan's only public comments outside of court about the case have been to the TV show "Extra," where she said she is embarrassed by the legal spectacle.
"I don't like the attention," she said on "Extra." "I don't want that. I want my attention to come through my films, from the work that I'm doing."
But Lohan reportedly has said that the necklace in question was loaned to her by the jewelry store Kamofie & Co. and her assistant returned it to police.
After detectives started looking into the case and began preparing a search warrant, a friend of Lohan's brought the necklace to the Pacific Division police station.