Lindsay Lohan's PR Power Play

The actress' rehab-revamped image may have helped her get off easy.

ByABC News
January 8, 2009, 1:05 AM

Aug. 23, 2007 — -- Though critics may question her on-screen talents, it's clear that Lindsay Lohan, with the help of her legal and PR handlers, knows how to play the part of the sorrowful starlet.

On the same day that prosecutors filed seven misdemeanor drunken driving and cocaine possession charges against her, the 21-year old actress reached a plea deal 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.

Moments after her plea deal was announced, Lohan released a statement to the media through her publicist in which she confirmed the substance abuse problems celebrity followers have been gossiping about for months.

"It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs," Lohan said. "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.

"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," she continued. "I thank God I did not injure others. I easily could have."

"I very much want to be healthy and gain control of my life and career and have asked for medical help in doing so," she added. "I am taking these steps to improve my life. 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."

According to Lawrence Taylor, a Los Angeles lawyer who deals exclusively with DUI cases, Lohan's punishment could have been far more severe -- anywhere from 96 hours to 12 months in jail.

"She got off fairly easily,"Taylor said. "Ten days community service counts as 10 days jail, plus the one day she's doing which she probably has credit for having spent those few hours in jail after the arrest."