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Theft charges against Lindsay Lohan could bring significant jail time, experts say [Updated]

February 8, 2011 |  3:27 pm

The felony grand theft charges Lindsay Lohan will face in court on Wednesday could bring the troubled actress significant time behind bars if she is convicted, according to legal experts.

Click here to see an interactive on Lindsay Lohan's life and career The charges, for allegedly stealing a $2,500 necklace, are far more serious than the drunk driving charges Lohan has previously faced. Lohan has denied any wrongdoing through her attorney.

[Updated at 5:25: Lohan will be arraigned Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at Airport Court. An earlier version of this post said she would be in court Thursday.]

Dmitry Gorin, an attorney and former deputy district attorney, said that while a conviction for grand theft or second-degree commercial burglary can carry a prison sentence of a couple of years, a much lesser sentence is common in the L.A. court system when this type of case is settled.

“She could realistically face 90 to 180 days in county jail including her probation violation,” he said.

While prosecutors might want a felony conviction, Gorin said, “I would push for a reduction to a misdemeanor and community service.”

Lohan currently is on probation and faces a criminal investigation in Riverside County involving allegations that she shoved a worker at the Betty Ford Center.

Lohan did not immediately comment on the latest charge, but her attorney released a statement over the weekend that the actress would fight any criminal charges.

"We vehemently deny these allegations," the statement said.

If charges are filed, "We will fight them in court, not in the press."

Last week, Los Angeles police detectives presented the results of their investigation into the alleged theft to prosecutors. Detectives investigated whether Lohan stole a "one-of-a-kind" necklace that went missing last month from a Venice jewelry store not far from where she lives.

The piece, described as a gold necklace with semiprecious stones, disappeared Jan. 22 from the store in the 1300 block of Abbot Kinney Boulevard, and police began investigating a few days later. According to law enforcement sources, Lohan was seen in a store security video wearing the necklace before it was reported missing.

After detectives began looking into the case and preparing a search warrant, a Lohan associate took the necklace to the Pacific Division police station, sources said. Lohan could face grand theft and second-degree commercial burglary charges if evidence supports that the necklace was stolen, prosecutors said.

In the Riverside County case, Lohan is under investigation for allegedly assaulting an employee at the Betty Ford Center.

Lohan spent three months at the center in Rancho Mirage under orders from Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox, who spared the actress jail time in October after Lohan tested positive for drugs while on probation in a DUI case.

The judge directed her to stay at the center through January and warned that he would put her in jail for six months if she violated probation again. It was her fifth time in rehab, and she has been to jail three times in connection with the case.

The employee accused Lohan of shoving her but then told investigators she did not want to press charges.


Lindsay Lohan to be charged with grand theft in necklace case

-- Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein