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Lindsay Lohan's Legal Saga Likely Cost Taxpayers Millions, Expert Says

Sept. 24: Lindsay Lohan arrives at a court hearing in Los Angeles after failing a court-mandated drug test. She will now appear in a biopic about John Gotti.

Lindsay Lohan flitted in and out of her 30-day jail sentence in a mere four hours early Monday morning. The 25-year-old actress was booked into the Century Regional Detention facility in Lynwood at 8:50 p.m. on Sunday evening, and was home in Venice Beach by 2 am.

Lohan was released due to jail overcrowding.

HOT SHOTS: Lindsay Lohan

Given her years-long saga in the California court system that led to her hours-long incarceration, Lohan could have cost taxpayers over $250,000 per hour of the jail time she just served, experts say.

“This should cause an outrage,” criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson told Fox411.com. “Why should Lindsay Lohan’s hand be held? Why should she be given umpteenth chances and everyone else the book gets thrown at them? It doesn’t seem to be fair.”

Lohan was sentenced to report to jail for her 30-day sentence after failing to complete a court mandated community service that had been ordered for drunken driving and theft charges. The judge gave Lohan the option of taking community service at the county morgue and mandated psychotherapy, or risk serving an additional 270 days in jail.

Not only that, the judge gave Lohan a week to report to jail so she could complete a nude photo shoot for Playboy magazine. Had she been unable to complete the shoot, she could have been held in breach of contract by the men's magazine, which reportedly paid her almost a million dollars for the spread.

Jackson tells Fox411 that if Lohan were not a celebrity, she absolutely would have been booked for the full 300 days without lenience this time around.

“The real issue is the normal Joe Schmo who doesn’t have her clout, her money, and her fame which gets a judge to cheer for her,” Jackson said. “For a normal person a judge would say, ‘You’re going to jail for a year.’”

And while Lohan can afford to pay her attorneys to keep her out of jail, her consistent bad behavior is costing California taxpayers hundreds of thousands – and possibly millions -- of dollars, all while gumming up the state’s overloaded justice system. Since Lindsay Lohan’s legal troubles began with a drunk driving arrest in 2007 she has made more than 20 court appearances stemming from additional arrests, violating probation, failing drug and alcohol screenings, and failing to follow court orders.

“From logistics to the transcript reporters to the clerks, it is exorbitantly expensive to have a court appearance. It is important we understand what a waste of time this is,”  former federal prosecutor Michael Wildes of Wildes & Weinberg told Fox411.com. “It costs tens of thousands of dollars per court appearance for all the clerks, the security, and those court reporters who get paid by the page, not to mention all the collateral support for something like this. Plus it diverts the administration of justice for other matters.”

“It has likely cost taxpayers millions of dollars,” attorney Vikki Ziegler contends. “This has been a four year ordeal that taxpayers in California must foot. That includes salaries for judges, prosecutors, court officers, court reporters, clerks, [and] other law enforcement professionals, who must all be paid, to have touched the Lohan case directly or indirectly in one shape or another.”

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