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

Actress required to enroll in psychological counseling.

May 11, 2011, 11:24 AM

May 11, 2011— -- 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

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.

Lindsay Lohan: Facing House Arrest?

When Andy Dick was sentenced to home confinement in 2009 for drug and alcohol charges, he turned his time into an online talk show called "House Arrest with Andy Dick," describing it as "the first celebrity talk show that must comply with a probation officer."

Apparently, the experience did not make a lasting impression, because Dick was arrested recently on new charges of public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

Scott Basinger, an expert on addiction and recovery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, doesn't think in-home rehab can have a lasting impression on addicts.

"I don't know anybody in 20-plus years who is successful in recovery from in-home rehab," Basinger told I wouldn't provide anybody in-home rehab unless they had a compelling reason."

To Basinger, that would mean serious physical disabilities that make it difficult or impossible for them to leave the house.

Earlier this year, Charlie Sheen claimed to have done rehab at home. He has since maintained that he is clean and sober. His reason for rehabbing at home was to maintain his privacy from prying paparazzi.

Basinger agrees that confidentiality for celebrities is an issue, but he countered, "Every single one of those people were out there making complete fools of themselves publicly because of drugs and alcohol. So what's the worry of letting the world know you're actually trying to do something about it?"

He said while it's possible to bring the kind of treatment used at rehab facilities to someone's home, it's nearly impossible to replicate the experience of group counseling. And putting a celebrity through serious rehab just like anyone else's might give them the humility that doctors say is crucial to recovery.

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