Could Amanda Bynes' vehicular legal woes be shifting into high gear?
Photos of a woman reported to be the embattled actress surfaced Thursday, showing the subject in sunglasses both driving around and sitting behind the wheel of a car parked while smoking something from a pipe. According to the photo agency, the images were snapped on Tuesday, a day before the latest Bynes court hearing.
A scenario like this, of course, would prove to be major ding against the former child star, whose license was suspended after a string of police busts that included a DUI arrest and two hit-and-run incidents.
But is the 26-year-old in even hotter water now?
Not if authorities can't prove the woman was Bynes, deduce what she was smoking or be certain that she was driving.
"There is no way to know when these pictures were taken or what, if anything, was being done inside the car," criminal defense attorney Troy Slaten, who isn't connected with any of Bynes' cases, tells E! News.
A key element, he says, is identifying "what was being smoked. It was clear that she was smoking something, but a green leafy substance resembling marijuana does not prove necessarily that she was smoking marijuana."
Then there's the question of identity—police will need to prove that the woman in the photos is actually Bynes and whether she was, in fact, driving.
Slaten notes that whether the prosecuting agency will expend the additional effort to investigate the incident remains unclear, since there was no property damage, no one was arrested and no complaints were made at the time.
Indeed, Los Angeles District Attorney Office spokeswoman Jane Robison confirms to E! News that they have not been notified of any recent incident involving Bynes.
In June, Bynes was officially charged with driving under the influence stemming from an April fender-bender with a police officer.
And just last week she was also slapped with two counts of misdemeanor hit and run arising from two separate incidents—one in April and another in August. The charges carry a maximum sentence of six months' jail time and up to $2,000 in fines.
She has two court hearings coming up: On Sept. 21, she's set to appear at a Beverly Hills courtroom to answer for her misdemeanor DUI charge. And on Sept. 27, she'll face a judge in Van Nuys for the hit-and-run allegations.
Perhaps she might want to carpool with her lawyer for those.