LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Lindsay Lohan avoided jail on Monday but was ordered to spend three months in a locked rehabilitation facility and undertake 30 days of community labor in a plea bargain over charges arising from a June car crash.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Dabney said Lohan, whose once promising Hollywood career has been wrecked by legal woes and erratic behavior, must also undergo psychotherapy for 18 months and sentenced her to two years’ probation.
The plea deal was struck on the first day of a scheduled trial when the 26-year-old “Mean Girls” actress agreed to plead no contest to charges that she lied to police when she said she was not behind the wheel after her Porsche sports car smashed into a truck on June 8, 2012, in Santa Monica, California.
Lohan, who is still on probation for a 2011 conviction for stealing a necklace, had faced the prospect of being sent to jail if she was convicted on the latest charges, or if she was deemed to have violated the terms of her 2011 probation.
Under Monday’s plea bargain, however, she was given a suspended 180 day jail term that will not be invoked unless she violates the terms of the agreement with prosecutors. It was announced after prosecutors and Lohan’s attorney met with Dabney in chambers for more than two hours before the trial opened.
Dabney told Lohan, who spends much of her time in New York City, to stay out of cars and out of trouble.
“A suggestion: Don’t drive. You’re in New York, you don’t need a car. ... This is it. If you violate your probation we’re not going to be having these discussions,” Dabney said after reading out the plea agreement.
Lohan left court without speaking to reporters, but her attorney, Mark Heller, told reporters he was happy with the deal.
“I’m very, very satisfied with the results today ... I think that the prosecutors treated her fairly. I’m very confident that you won’t be seeing Lindsay Lohan in any criminal courts any time in the future,” Heller said.
“Today marks the first day of the rest of her life and her comeback is before her,” he said.
Lohan’s father, Michael, heckled Heller during his news conference and accused him of lying to the actress and keeping her in the dark about the plea agreement.
The actress has been jailed or placed under house arrest for short periods numerous times since 2007, including three times in 2011. She has also spent at least five periods in rehab in the last six years.
She underwent court-ordered psychological counseling in 2012, and has claimed in numerous TV and magazine interviews that she is a changed woman and understands her past mistakes.
Lohan arrived 45 minutes late for her trial on Monday after taking an overnight flight to Los Angeles from New York and dashing through rush-hour traffic to the courthouse.
She had previously pleaded not guilty to reckless driving, obstructing police, and lying to police about who was driving the car in Santa Monica in June 2012.
Lohan made her name as a cute, freckled 11-year-old in Disney’s 1998 movie “The Parent Trap” and went on to find commercial and critical success in films like “Freaky Friday” and “Bobby.”
But she has not made a feature film since the independent thriller “Machete” in 2010. Her last effort - a comeback performance as late actress Elizabeth Taylor in the TV movie “Liz & Dick” in November - was largely panned by critics.
Reporting By Eric Kelsey, Editing by Jill Serjeant, Mohammad Zargham and Paul Simao