Lindsay Lohan in court with her lawyer Mark Jay Heller in January. (Getty Images)
On Monday morning, the actress will be in a Santa Monica, California, courtroom to begin her trial for three charges (lying to police, obstructing a police officer, and reckless driving) stemming from June 2012 car crash along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Although prosecutors have offered her an array of plea bargains, including rehab and house arrest, Lohan has refused them all and instead has chosen to roll the dice with her New York-based lawyer, Mark Jay Heller, whose competency was questioned by the judge the last time he was in court on her behalf March 1.
So what can she expect when she steps into court on Monday morning?
In case she has a last-minute change-of-heart and wants to cut a deal with prosecutors, there is a good chance she could before court is in session. "It is possible that the City Attorney's Office will allow her to accept that deal on Monday," Los Angeles-based criminal lawyer Elana Goldstein tells omg!. "It is also possible that she could negotiate a better deal on Monday – sometimes the best deals are struck with the jury waiting in the hallway."
But if she decides to instead go forward with the trial, she's risking a lot. Prosecutors reportedly have multiple eyewitnesses claiming Lohan was in fact behind the wheel of her rented Porsche when it crashed into an 18-wheeler. (She has said her now-former assistant Gavin Doyle was driving).
The damage done to Lohan's car last June.
Also, her past could come back to haunt her. Lohan was involved in two prior accidents, in 2007 and 2012, in which she claimed she was not driving … when evidence later proved she was. Prosecution "could use them against her," says Goldstein. "The City Attorney has indicated that they plan to use her prior acts. The judge may not allow the City Attorney to present evidence of her prior bad acts if Lindsay chooses not to testify. It would be within the judge's discretion. Essentially, the purpose of using her prior bad acts would be to show that this is how Lindsay acts in these types of situations ... namely, getting into an accident and denying being the driver."
There’s also the possibility that the "Liz & Dick" actress will testify on her behalf to prove her innocence. But that decision could actually do more to hurt her case, says Goldstein, because once Lohan puts herself on the stand, prosecutors can bring up anything and everything, including her past charges and convictions (two DUIs, assault, necklace theft, etc). "They would use the prior bad acts to impeach her credibility," explains the lawyer.
If Lohan is found guilty of any of the three current charges, her past bad behavior can also come back to bite her during sentencing. "The judge certainly can consider her past acts in deciding her sentence," says Goldstein, who adds that even if Lohan is found not guilty, the judge can still rule that the case violated her 2011 probation.
But would Lohan really face hard jail time? Because of the overcrowding in Los Angeles County, there’s a good chance that once again she could be released much sooner than her sentence requires. "All of her charges are misdemeanors," explains Goldstein, "so even if she were sentenced to jail time, she would likely be released very early. My answer would be different if she were sentenced to a felony. Serious or not, they are still all misdemeanor charges."
What do you expect to go down in court on Monday morning? Keep checking in with omg! that day to get the latest updates!
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