- Associated Press - Friday, September 24, 2010

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. (AP) - Lindsay Lohan is due back in court Friday to face a new judge but a likely familiar result _ jail, rehab or judgment postponed.

The troubled starlet has publicly acknowledged failing a court-mandated drug test, which could trigger a 30-day jail sentence. But as with most things involving Lohan’s three-year-old court case, the script isn’t set.

It will be the “Mean Girls” star’s first appearance before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox, who is holding an arrest warrant to compel her appearance. The judge had said he would sentence her to a month in jail for each drug test she skipped or failed, but he still has discretion on her punishment.

The actress wasn’t present for that hearing, which was held hours after her release from rehab.

Unless Lohan, 24, requests immediate sentencing, the judge will have to set bail and release her until a formal probation revocation hearing can be held. A return to rehab is also an option.

Law enforcement and court officials say they do not know how Fox will handle Lohan’s case, but that they are prepared for any ruling.

“Whatever he determines, we’ll abide by,” said Jane Robison, a district attorney’s spokeswoman. “Sentencing is in his hands.”

Steve Whitmore, a sheriff’s department spokesman, agreed, saying the jail was ready to book Lohan if necessary.

Immediate sentencing could result in Lohan going directly to jail, but she would likely be released within days due to overcrowding. She has twice been released early to overcrowding, with Lohan’s longest jail stay a 14-day stint on a 90-day sentence earlier this summer.

Lohan’s previous jail appearance in 2007 lasted 84 minutes. Her 90-day sentence at an inpatient rehab facility last month was shortened to 23 days.

Another stint in rehab remains a possibility, especially since Lohan seemed to acknowledge an addiction problem after news of her positive drug test broke last week.

“Substance abuse is a disease, which unfortunately doesn’t go away over night,” Lohan posted on her Twitter feed last Friday. “I am working hard to overcome it and am taking positive steps.

“This is certainly a setback for me but I am taking responsibility for my actions and I’m prepared to face the consequences,” her posts said.

Lohan’s attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, did not return phone or e-mail messages seeking comment.

The actress remains on probation for a reckless driving and two driving under the influence charges, all misdemeanors. Fox dropped two drug cases at a hearing in August during which he announced Lohan’s release from rehab and set out a strict outpatient treatment schedule that included random drug screenings.

Fox has sealed Lohan’s court file, but a source familiar with the case has told The Associated Press that the actress’ failed test came roughly two weeks after her release from rehab.

Michael Nasatir, a veteran criminal defense attorney who has represented clients in Fox’s court said he expects the judge to evaluate whether Lohan is serious about treatment.

“She’s in front of a very, very fair judge and he knows the process of recovery,” Nasatir said. “He knows that relapses are a process of recovery.”

He said whether Lohan wants to change is up to her.

“This is a talented girl whose window of opportunity in her professional life is not that long,” Nasatir said. “She’s seen some good productive years go down the drain.”

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