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Nicole Richie completes probation for 2006 DUI

December 29, 2010 |  6:46 pm

 Nicole Richie and Joel Madden Nicole Richie is done with probation early -- sort of -- for a 2006 DUI incident, a judge decided Wednesday.

Richie provided proof that she'd completed all that was required of her, her publicist said, including completion of an 18-month alcohol education program. The TV personality and House of Harlow designer had been given until February to wrap it up, though that deadline was an extension granted in June to allow her more time to finish the class. So she's done "early," but only relative to a later end date. Still, it's a key step in her 180-degree life overhaul.

Richie was arrested shortly after midnight Dec. 11, 2006 -- stopped in the carpool lane on the Ventura Freeway talking on her cellphone -- by police who were responding to 911 calls that a driver had entered the freeway the wrong way, using an offramp. She admitted smoking pot and taking Vicodin, pleaded guilty and spent 82 minutes of a four-day sentence in jail.

She has admitted to getting treatment for cocaine and heroin use, last touching heroin in 2003, around the time she was charged with possession after a traffic stop. In recent years, however, she's morphed from party girl into mother of two, raising kidlets Harlow and Sparrow and recently marrying their dad, rocker Joel Madden. Her name also keeps popping up in connection with a scripted ABC sitcom project recently claimed by entertainment head Jamie Tarses, and has plans to expand her House of Harlow brand.

In comparison, Lindsay Lohan is still not finished with her series of probations stemming from two 2007 DUI arrests, and Nic's onetime "Simple Life" BFF Paris Hilton was barred from entering Japan on business in September after pleading guilty to cocaine possession in Las Vegas.


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-- Christie D'Zurilla

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Joel Madden and Nicole Richie perform with the cast of the kids' show "Yo Gabba Gabba!" at a Nokia Theater event at L.A. Live on Nov. 27, 2010 -- about as far as you can get from driving the wrong way on the 134. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images