Nicole Richie picked a really good day to go jail.
With Hollywood preoccupied with Lindsay Lohan's legal escapades, the pregnant Simple Life star slipped into—and quickly out of—a Los Angeles-area lockup Thursday afternoon, serving exactly 82 minutes of what was supposed to be a four-day sentence.
Richie, 25, checked in to Paris Hilton's old haunt, the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, at 3:15 p.m., ostensibly to serve 96 hours for her wrong-way DUI.
But due to a packed jail and the math employed by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, officials said they expected Richie to serve only a fraction of the term.
"At this time, the criteria for a female arrestee sentenced to 30 days or less for a nonviolent offense is as follows: The arrestee is booked, screened and usually released within 12 hours," Sergeant John Hocking said in a statement. "This procedure is based on jail overcrowding to manage population levels mandated by federal court guidelines."
The joint must have been jammed, because by 4:37 p.m., Richie, accompanied by her boyfriend, rocker Joel Madden, and lawyer, Shawn Chapman Holley, was back on the streets.
The 82 minutes is believed to be a new record turnaround for L.A. celebrity inmates, easily besting ex-Lost player Michelle Rodriguez 's four hours, 27 minutes last year. Hilton, who faced a stricter initial sentence of 45 days, wound up logging 23 of them at Century Regional.
For those keeping score at home, Richie, who is about five months pregnant with Madden's child, was listed as 5-foot-1, 105 pounds on her booking sheet.
Richie's legal troubles began in December, when she was arrested for allegedly driving the wrong way on a Los Angeles freeway. Police said she flubbed a field sobriety test and admitted smoking marijuana and taking the painkiller Vicodin before getting behind the wheel of her black SUV.
She pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence at her arraignment hearing in February.
Had she gone to trial and been convicted of the charge, she would have been sentenced to a minimum of five days in jail and could have faced up to a year behind bars due to a 2003 DUI conviction on her record.
But on July 27 she changed her tune and pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of drugs and was sentenced to 96 hours in jail—the mandatory minimum for her offense—and given until Sept. 28 to turn herself in.
Richie was also placed on three years' probation, ordered to 21 days of drug and alcohol-education classes and fined $2,048 by Superior Court Commissioner Steven K. Lubell.
"You are very lucky that no one was hurt or killed as the result of this incident," Lubell said.
He gave Richie the choice of serving her time in either city or county jail.
Prosecutors noted that if Richie opted for a cushier city jail, she'd have to do the full four days. But if she chose a county facility, like Century Regional, she would likely serve only a portion of her time because of the overcrowding.
Now that she's sprung, Richie is expected to resume touring with Madden's band, Good Charlotte, and planning for her wedding.
A source close to the couple told E! Online earlier this week that Richie was waiting to serve her time and have the baby before the two would get married.
"She wants to do it on their own schedule," the source said. "And it will be done because they are in love, not because they are up against some deadline."