Maybe Lindsay Lohan has finally figured out when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.
After going through the motions of a preliminary hearing, the actress's attorney Shawn Holley pleaded no contest today to misdemeanor theft in order to avoid going to trial and the possibility of having extra time tacked on to her latest sentence for probation violation.
So what else does she get (or not get) as part of this seemingly sweet deal? And where the heck was Lindsay?
First off, Lohan wasn't required to dress up and appear today since the case was downgraded to a misdemeanor. Instead, Holley reported that Lohan was preparing for another day of community service down at an L.A. women's shelter.
As for her punishment?
Well, Lohan didn't get any more jail time, with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner agreeing to let it stand at 120 days—the sentence the judge passed down April 22 when she ruled that Lohan had violated her years-old DUI probation yet again.
Lohan has until June 17 to begin serving her sentence. Of the 120-day sentence, Lohan was given credit for two days served. She must also perform 480 hours of community service and was placed on three years of formal probation.
Holley confirmed in court Lindsay applied for participation in a house-arrest program, but does not yet know if she has been approved.
Sautner said in court that the decision as to house arrest or possible early release is not hers to make, but instead will be left at the discretion of the L.A. Sheriff's Department, which has faced severe overcrowding and typically permits low-level offenders (like Lindsay) to be released after serving a fraction of their sentences.
"I am not about to battle the sheriff," she said. "But I can order that she can not perform community service while on house arrest."
The reason being that those are two completely separate orders of the court, and Sautner wanted to make sure Lohan does not abuse the time it takes her to travel to and from her daily eight hours of community service by, say, stopping for a meal or other luxuries someone who has not been sentenced to house arrest might enjoy.
Lohan will remain on formal probation, which will be terminated once the actress completes her jail time and community service.
She has also been ordered to attend a shoplifter's alternative program and undergo psychological counseling. She will not, however, be forced to undergo drug abuse counseling.
"I don't think the root of her problem is substance abuse. "She has other problems and I believe she self-medicates."
As part of her sentence, Sautner also ordered Lohan to stay away from Kamofie & Co., to which Holley replied, "That won't be a problem."
Still, Sautner felt the need to clarify: "That means don't send flowers."
Lohan is also required to complete 480 hours of community service, 360 hours at the Downtown Women's Center and 120 at the L.A. County Morgue.
She reported for duty at the shelter last Friday, having said last month on The Tonight Show, her first late-night interview in ages, "I didn't really expect the outcome [of her last court date] to be what it was. But I'm a big girl and I'm going to do what I'm told to do, and that's what I have to do to continue on with working in my life. I'm taking responsibility."
Holley agreed, telling the judge in court that she already received "glowing reports" from her supervisors.
Sautner's classic reply: "After one day?"
After the hearing, Holley, City Attorney Melanie Chavia and L.A. County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore addressed the press.
Holley was up first and defended Lindsay against claims that the star was receiving special treatment.
"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.
Chavia seemed in agreement, saying she was pleased with the sentence, saying it was "consistent" with similar offenses.
Whitmore kept the party line, saying that regardless of a decision as to house arrest, Lohan must surrender to jail.
"She will report where she will be booked," he said. At that point, the determination will be made if she is eligible for house arrest. And if she does qualify, she would still, he reminded everyone, be considered "in custody."
"They will still be in custody. They will just be in custody in their home."
However, should she be eligible for the program, Whitmore estimates that of the 120-day sentence, Lindsay would likely serve just 17 days—minus the two days she's receiving credit for—of her sentence. Overcrowded jails have their benefits, after all.
A progress hearing has been set for July 21.
(Originally published on May 11, 2011 at 10:46 a.m. PT)