Despite DUIs, drug possession, driving with a suspended license, and violating the terms of her probation on two occasions, Lindsay Lohan has successfully managed to avoid a stint in the slammer. This has sparking outrage from many who believe that she’s getting special treatment from the courts due to her celebrity status.
But based on how high Lohan’s bail was set, could the 23-year-old actually be getting unfairly treated by the California courts?
Last month Lohan, who was partying in Cannes and claimed her passport was stolen, missed a scheduled probation hearing stemming from her 2007 drunk driving/drug charges and had to post $100,000 bail on an arrest warrant issued by L.A Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel.
The actress then violated her probation again last Sunday evening when her alcohol-monitoring SCRAM device detected the presence of alcohol following the MTV Movie Awards. The judge issued another bench warrant for Lohan’s arrest and upped her bail to $200,000, which Lohan paid through a bail bondsman.
But according to legal experts, the bail figures set for Lohan are significantly higher than what they would be if a non-celebrity had committed a similar offense.
“Lindsay’s bails were very high. But the judge would have looked through her track record and realized she had some assets. A $200,000 bail for someone like Lohan proportionately might be the same as a bail set at $5,000 for the average guy working in a factory,” explained Santa Monica-based criminal defense attorney, Steve Cron.
So is Lohan being made an example of because she is a celebrity and the court did not want to be perceived as being lenient towards someone with a high public profile?
“People like to say that celebrities get a break, but that’s not always the case. Quite often they are treated more harshly as the courts don’t want to be perceived as giving them a better deal than they would they average person,” added Cron. “To some degree, the judge is making an example of her – but she would have looked carefully at Lindsay’s history and thought about what she needed to do to get her attention. The judge is sending out a warning that this girl’s behavior has to change, otherwise the consequences will be harsh.”
Fellow Los Angeles attorney Robert Berglund agreed that while the bail “was high,” it was most likely due to Lohan being a “repeat violator” of her probation. Beverly Hills defense lawyer C. Robert Brooks agreed that Lohan’s continual breaches would have been a major factor in determining the figures.
“Personally, I would say that [the $100,000 and $200,000 bail] is pretty high, but I suppose it all depends on how you define ‘excessive.’ Ms. Lohan certainly hasn’t done herself a lot of favors in the courtroom, which may contribute the increase in bail,” Brooks told us. “However, if the attorney thought that the bail was too high, they could have scheduled a bail reduction hearing where they could have convinced the judge to reduce the amount. But since the attorneys just posted the bail right after court, it seems they thought that was the easiest solution to the problem.”