Nicole Richie's wrong-way driving case has shifted gears.
The California Highway Patrol turned its investigation into the Simple Life star's DUI arrest over to the Los Angeles District Attorney's office Wednesday to determine whether Richie should be charged in the case.
CHP officials would not disclose their recommendations in the case, but the fact that the D.A. is reviewing the case, as opposed to the city attorney's office, suggests that the CHP is recommending Richie face a felony charge.
A spokesperson for the D.A.'s office did not comment beyond acknowledging that the case had been received and was under review. There was no immediate word from Richie's camp.
Richie was arrested Dec. 11 for allegedly driving the wrong way in the carpool lane of the Ventura (134) Freeway in Burbank, California.
When police arrived on the scene, they found Richie behind the wheel of her black SUV, stopped in the carpool lane and facing the right direction.
At the time of her arrest, police said she admitted to having taken the painkiller Vicodin and smoking marijuana. A field sobriety test showed she was not under the influence of alcohol.
She was taken into custody and released after posting $15,000 bail.
Because Richie was previously convicted of drunken driving in 2003, a second conviction could mean a prison term of 90 days to one year and suspension of her license.
A tentative hearing in the matter has been scheduled for Feb. 7, assuming charges are in fact filed against her.
Even if she faces charges, it's unlikely to affect filming on the fifth installment of The Simple Life in Malibu; Richie and Paris Hilton are slated to resume filming this March. (The Simple Life airs on E! Entertainment Television; E! Online and E! Entertainment are divisions of E! Networks.)
This time around, the duo reportedly will toil as counselors at such institutions as a fat camp, a beauty pageant camp and a couples camp, among others.
Production on the series was halted in October while Richie sought treatment to determine why she was having difficulty gaining weight.