LOS ANGELES, California - The troubled American actress Lindsay Lohan pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three misdemeanor charges stemming from an auto accident in a case that could send her to prison.
Lohan did not attend the hearing in Santa Monica, west of Los Angeles, and did not have to do so. The judge convened the next hearing for January 30.
The 26-year-old actress was charged in November with resisting and obstructing an officer, giving false testimony and driving recklessly. All this stemmed from an accident in which a Porsche hit a truck; Lohan said she was not driving the sports car in that June accident in Santa Monica.
Police later concluded she had in fact been driving the Porsche.
If found guilty, Lohan could go to jail for between three months and a year. That's because at the time of the crash she was already on probation for a shoplifting conviction; she had been found guilty of robbing a necklace from a jewelry shop in 2011.
In December a judge revoked her probation.
Tuesday's hearing was messy and could have ended in an arrest order against Lohan if her recently fired lawyer, Shawn Holley, had not shown up to defend her, showbiz website TMZ reported.
It said Holley, who has shepherded Lohan through numerous brushes with the law in recent years, was dismissed in a letter sent by Lohan's lawyer in New York, Mark Heller.
But Heller is not certified to practice law in California.
And if the actress had had no legal counsel representing her Tuesday, the court could have issued an arrest warrant against her.
Holley showed up anyway and presented a not-guilty plea on behalf of Lohan.
Though Lohan, who has had problems with drugs, has been in and out of court often since 2007, she has managed to stay out of prison except for 87 minutes she spent behind bars in November of that year.
She has also done community service work in a morgue but did not have to deal with dead bodies.
Although she won praise for her performance in the 2004 film "Mean Girls" as a teen, the former Disney star has become better known for her drug problems, legal woes and social life than for her acting work.
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