Lindsay Lohan begins prison sentence

Actress Lindsay Lohan has begun a jail sentence for a probation offence that underlined the starlet's inability to put a 2007 drug case behind her.

Someone showered Lohan and the crowd with a blast of confetti outside the Beverly Hills court yesterday as she walked in to surrender with dozens of cameras following her.

Two weeks after sobbing at her sentencing, Lohan, 24, was more composed but nervous, fidgeting with her hair in court as she waited to begin serving her time for violating probation.

The judge ordered the cameras off for the moment a bailiff handcuffed her and whisked her into a lock-up cell.

Her estranged father Michael shouted in court: "We love you Lindsay!"

On July 6 Los Angeles Superior Court judge Marsha Revel sentenced the Mean Girls star to 90 days in jail, three months in rehabilitation and increased scrutiny by probation officials after ruling that she violated her probation by missing seven alcohol education classes since December.

But sheriff's officials said Lohan would end up serving only about two weeks behind bars because of jail overcrowding and anticipated credits for good behaviour.

After yesterday's brief court hearing, news helicopters chronicled her ride in an unmarked sheriff's car to a suburban women's jail about half an hour away.

The helicopters surrounded the facility as Lohan entered through a side entrance. Clusters of camera crews awaited her arrival inside marked areas surrounded by yellow sheriff's tape on the grass in front of the county jail, next to a busy freeway in a working-class area.

Lohan will serve significantly longer than the 84 minutes she spent at a suburban Los Angeles jail for the same case in 2007. Judge Revel ordered that the actress cannot be freed on house arrest, electronic monitoring or work release.

Lohan's surrender was long anticipated but not without last-minute drama. Last week she moved into a sober living facility founded by famed celebrity lawyer Robert Shapiro, who on Friday said he agreed to represent her.

But by Monday afternoon Mr Shapiro was standing before Judge Revel, announcing he would not be handling it. That prompted widespread speculation about who would represent the actress.

Yesterday morning it was Lohan's long-time lawyer, Shawn Holley, who accompanied the starlet to court and stood beside her. Ms Holley said afterwards she would continue to represent Lohan.

"She's scared as anyone would be, but she's as resolute and she's doing it," Ms Holley said after the hearing.

Lohan was booked into the jail at 10.11am and sheriff's department spokesman Steve Whitmore described her as "extremely co-operative".

Once there, she traded in her dark denim jeans, grey top, black corset belt and black jacket for a jail jumpsuit.

She will now spend much of the next few weeks in an isolation unit that has housed celebrities such as Paris Hilton and actress Michelle Rodriguez.

After a pair of high-profile arrests, Lohan pleaded guilty in August 2007 to two misdemeanour counts of being under the influence of cocaine. She also pleaded no contest to two counts of driving with a blood-alcohol level above 0.08% and one count of reckless driving.

She was sentenced to three years of probation but has struggled with the terms, earning a one-year extension in October but still failing to complete her alcohol education programme as ordered.

Lohan was first arrested after a hit-and-run crash in 2007. Two months later, she was arrested after commandeering a sport utility vehicle and engaging in a chase that ended in Santa Monica. The incident spawned a civil case that has been delayed because of Lohan's jail stint.

Judge Revel noted that during both of her arrests, Lohan lied about her involvement and said her recent apology did not ring true.

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