Life in the Fast Lane: Lindsay Lohan's Legal Mess

Life in the Fast Lane: Lindsay Lohan's Legal Mess

by Monica Sanders, December 2009

Rehab, DUI's, a wild ride - all seem to point to a downward spiral for the young star. However, her run-ins with the police may just be the start of Lindsay Lohan's legal problems. She may be facing lawsuits from the three men riding with her during her most recent arrest. Randall Billington, the attorney for Dante Nigro, Jakon Sutter and Ronnie Blake, said that the men claim Lohan took them on a death-defying ride in Nigro's white GMC Yukon Denali. Apparently, they did not consent to Lohan driving and pleaded with her to stop. Lohan was arrested for driving the SUV at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour as she chased her assistant.

When police stopped her, Lohan's blood alcohol level was above the legal limit and officers said they found a small amount of cocaine in her pocket. The incident apparently started when Lohan's assistant, Tarin Graham, left her job. Lohan and Graham's mother got into a disagreement, which lead to the chase. Officers say the two were arguing in a parking lot when the two stopped.

Do these charges sound familiar?

Lohan was booked on felony charges of possession of cocaine and transportation of a narcotic - in addition to misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license. She has since denied that the drugs were not hers and has even claimed not to have been driving.

LiLo had just been released from Promises rehabilitation center, where she spent 45 days. She went into treatment after a May 26th arrest. That time, Lohan lost control of her Mercedes-Benz convertible and struck a curb. Police found "additional contraband" in the car - which was tentatively identified as a "useable" amount of cocaine. After receiving treatment for minor injuries, Lohan was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. She will have to answer to charges from both arrests in a Santa Monica court on August

Paying the Price

Meanwhile, the media has been tossing around the idea of whether the judge should forego giving Ms Lohan more rehab time, and just send her straight to jail. Under California law, she could go for up to a year. A first-time DUI offense can bring a sentence of up to six months and $1500 in fines. There is a driver's license suspension. Some judges order alcohol testing or a monitoring bracelet. Lindsay Lohan had been placed under both these punishments before her latest arrest.

Driving at excessive speeds is considered an "enhancement" to the original sentence and can add up to 60 days. Prior DUI convictions can also be grounds for a judge to add to the minimum sentence. Because Lohan has two arrests for DUI and a drug possession charge, she could get a year or more behind bars. If the drug charge is treated as a felony, that time could be spent in state prison. However, the judge could still order her back to drug treatment or give her probation.

Even if her criminal penalty is light, Lohan could still pay for the July car chase. While the men who rode with her have said they would like to settle their differences amongst them; their lawyer says they are prepared to suit. How and for what the suit will be is not clear yet. What is clear is that Lindsay Lohan is digging herself into the legal trenches.