Jail is Likely for Lohan

Starlet booked on suspicion of DUI, felony drug possession.

February 9, 2009, 9:36 AM

July 24, 2007 — -- Lindsay Lohan, who was arrested early Tuesday on charges of driving with a suspended license and felony drug possession, faces likely jail time if she is convicted of all the charges against her, criminal defense lawyers told ABC News.

Santa Monica police arrested Lohan early Tuesday and booked her on misdemeanor charges of suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license and two felony charges of possession of cocaine and transporting a narcotic into a jail. Lohan has a separate misdemeanor drunken driving charge pending against her stemming from a car crash in May.

If convicted of all the charges against her, Lohan faces up to several years in prison, though criminal defense lawyers said she would get far less jail time, if any.

"She is in a world of hurt," said Steven Cron, a criminal defense lawyer in Santa Monica. "Any judge is going to want to make sure she's off the streets for a while. I think she faces a substantial amount of jail time."

While warning that it is still too early to say what will happen to Lohan and that all the facts of her arrest still are not known, several Los Angeles criminal lawyers told ABC News that they expected Lohan, who recently left rehab and has been wearing an alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet, to serve at least some jail time if convicted.

Lohan's attorney Blair Berk and her publicist did not immediately return calls for comment. In a statement released to the Web site TMZ.com, Berk said that Lohan had relapsed. "She is safe, out of custody and presently receiving medical care," the statement said.

'A Very Bad Situation'

Driving with a suspended license, when the suspension was for drunken driving, carries a mandatory 10-day jail sentence under California law.

But the drug charges lodged against Lohan raise the possibility of significant jail time, though lawyers said the exact amount would be impossible to predict.

"The cocaine takes it to a new level. That's a felony," said criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse, a former assistant district attorney. "This is a very bad situation for Lindsay."

Shouse said Lohan could be sent to prison for up to three years on the drug charges, though he expected her to receive a much shorter sentence, if convicted. A sentence of 90 to 120 days in jail would not be uncommon in similar circumstances, Shouse said, though a judge could opt to order Lohan to undergo drug treatment instead.

"Some sort of in-patient treatment or jail time would be typical in this scenario," he said. "She certainly has encountered some legal woes with this situation."

Lawrence Taylor, a former deputy district attorney and deputy public defender in Los Angeles who specializes in DUI cases, agreed. "She's definitely in some deep water," he said. "It's impossible to predict, but my best guess is she could be looking at anywhere from 30 to 180 days."

They also said a court would likely order Lohan to undergo mandatory drug treatment, possibly in addition to jail time.

Barry Simons, president of the National College for DUI Defense, said Lohan might qualify for a California drug treatment program, which would allow her to avoid jail, if she can show there was no cocaine in her system when she was driving.

New Charges

The 21-year-old movie star was arrested early Tuesday after failing a field sobriety test, police said. Her blood alcohol level was at least 0.12, over the legal limit of 0.08. Police found cocaine in one of Lohan's pants pockets during a prebooking search, the police said.

Lohan was released on $25,000 bail shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Last week, Lohan turned herself in to Beverly Hills police to face separate charges of driving under the influence and hit and run. Police said Lohan lost control of her Mercedes and crashed into a curb last May. She then allegedly walked away. Her blood alcohol level was above the legal limit at the time, the police said.

She was released on her own recognizance last week. A court date is scheduled for Aug. 24 in that case.

It is possible that Lohan will not serve any jail time, even if she is convicted, and lawyers said they did not expect prosecutors to pursue the transportation of narcotics charge. But after Lohan's prior run-in with the law, and after the debacle with Paris Hilton, attorneys don't expect Lohan to receive favorable treatment.

"The courts are being careful not to appear to give favoritism to celebrities," Shouse said. "I don't think the court will be particularly lenient with her."

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