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Let's see if the Apt Pupil star has learned his lesson this time around.

Brad Renfro pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges of attempted heroin possession stemming from his arrest in an LAPD drug sting last December. Renfro was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to enter rehab.

Renfro's admission, a reversal of a not guilty plea entered during his Jan. 18 arraignment, came after he struck a deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time.

But the trouble-plagued 23-year-old former kid star may not be in the clear yet: He could face up to 18 months behind bars should he violate the terms of his probation.

"It's his first step in getting back to work and putting this all behind him," Renfro's attorney, Richard Kaplan, said outside the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Make that his second step: Shortly after his Dec. 22 arrest, Renfro voluntarily entered into a live-in drug treatment program, where he stayed for more than a month. The actor has since left the center, though Kaplan declined to state his client's check-out date. No word yet on whether Renfro's sobering stint fulfills his sentence. He is due back in court for another hearing on Mar. 6, where he will learn further details of his fate. In the meantime, he's free on $10,000 bail.

The actor--whose most recent credit was, appropriately enough, the Jan. 22 episode of NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent--was one of 14 people arrested during a December sting operation in Los Angeles' notorious Skid Row. Renfro was taken into custody after attempting to buy a balloon filled with what he thought was heroin from an undercover cop.

Police said that after his arrest, the actor was apologetic about his behavior and admitted to having a drug problem.

The bust was just the latest in a long line of legal woes.

In 2002, Renfro was ordered, for the first time, to enter rehab after being arrested for driving without a license and public intoxication. Both charges violated the terms of his probation, which he was serving for a 2001 arrest on charges of attempting to steal a yacht in Fort Lauderdale. Five months later, he was charged with public intoxication.

Back in 1998, when he was just 15, Renfro was charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana, but again managed to avoid jail time after striking a plea bargain with prosecutors.