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Richie, Lohan avoid hard time in prison

Lindsay Lohan agreed to serve one day behind bars after pleading guilty to drunken driving and cocaine charges and Nicole Richie served for driving under the influence didn’t spend even a day in jail.

Richie was released from jail after just 82 minutes Thursday, the same day Lohan copped a plea.

The 25-year-old daughter of Lionel Richie checked into a women's jail at 3:15 p.m. and was released at 4:37 p.m. "based on her sentence and federal guidelines," Sheriff's Deputy Maribel Rizo said without elaborating.

Richie never actually reached her cell, spending her entire 82 minutes in custody being booked, fingerprinted and having her mugshot taken. She was originally sentenced to 96 hours in jail, but that was reduced to 90 hours because of time served when she was arrested.

Under a federal court mandate to manage jail overcrowding, arrestees sentenced to 30 days or less for a nonviolent offense are usually released within 12 hours, the Sheriff's Department said in a statement. Richie was "treated in the same manner as other inmates with a similar sentence," the statement said.

It raises questions about how much Lohan will serve of her sentence. The troubled actress also agreed to serve 10 days of community service and complete a drug treatment program.

"She's getting what everyone else would get," Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers said after an hourlong hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge H. Chester Horn Jr.'s courtroom.

If Lohan were to be convicted of another DUI, she would receive a mandatory 120-day jail sentence, Meyers said. If the actress violates her probation in any way, Meyers added, she could face even more time behind bars: up to a year on each of the drunken-driving and cocaine charges and 90 days on the reckless-driving charge.

Lohan has until Jan. 18 to complete her jail time, community service and residential drug-rehabilitation program. She must also show proof of enrollment in the 18-month alcohol-education program required of all second-time drunken-driving offenders by that January date.

The judge sentenced Lohan to 96 hours in jail, the mandatory minimum for a second drunken-driving offense. Lohan was given credit for 24 hours already served, and she elected to complete 10 days of community service instead of 48 hours behind bars - an option available to all two-time DUI offenders. She still must serve the balance of her sentence - 24 hours - in city or county jail, Meyers said.

Lohan is being treated at a residential drug-rehabilitation center in Utah. She will remain there for at least 30 days to satisfy her sentence on the cocaine charges, Meyers said.

Lohan was arrested on May 26 in Beverly Hills and on July 24 in Santa Monica. In each incident, the amount of cocaine tested was below the 0.05 grams required for felony charges, according to the district attorney's office.

She crashed her Mercedes-Benz into a tree on Sunset Boulevard in May and fled the scene to seek medical treatment. Police tests revealed that a white powder found in Lohan's purse was 0.04 grams of cocaine.

Richie was arrested Dec. 11, 2006, after witnesses reported seeing her black Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle headed the wrong way on a freeway in Burbank. The California Highway Patrol said they found her parked in the car pool lane.

She pleaded guilty in July to a misdemeanor DUI charge in a deal with prosecutors that helped her avoid a potential year in jail because it was a second driving-under-the-influence conviction.

Her first conviction was in 2003 for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Richie told authorities after being arrested in December that she had smoked marijuana and taken the prescription painkiller Vicodin, a CHP officer said at the time. No drugs were found on her or in her car.

Her "The Simple Life" co-star Paris Hilton served 23 days at the same suburban Lynwood jail as Richie after she was found guilty of driving on a suspended license while on probation for an alcohol-related reckless-driving case.

Attorney Howard L. Weitzman, who represented Hilton in her probation-violation case, called the judge in Lohan's case "objective and fair."

Weitzman, who does not represent Lohan, added that she "appears to be doing what we would all want someone to do in this situation, which is be accountable for her actions and take responsibility for her conduct and make a meaningful effort to change her life."

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