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Lindsay Lohan Could Dodge Felony Bullet Today

4/22/2011 9:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

There's a way Lindsay Lohan could avoid going to trial for felony grand theft -- and it all hinges on whether her lawyer uses a magic number -- 17 --  during today's preliminary hearing.

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TMZ did some digging ... and there's a law that is commonly used to reduce felony charges to misdemeanors -- and it's used every day in court.  It's California Penal Code, Section 17(b).  Under the law, the judge has the ability to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor at the end of a preliminary hearing if the offense is relatively minor and the defendant is not a hardened criminal with a long record.

Fact is ... it's done everyday, and Lindsay's judge -- Stephanie Sautner -- has routinely exercised this power, according to courthouse sources.

Fact is, in the greater scheme of things, Lindsay's DUI convictions do not make her a serious criminal, and the charge of stealing a necklace is no big whoop.

All Shawn Holley has to do is say the magic words after today's preliminary hearing testimony -- "Your honor, I move that you reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor under Penal Code 17(B)."

And if the charge is reduced, prison time is off the table and it's likely the whole thing would be settled as a probation violation.

This post is rated NC-17(b).

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157 COMMENTS

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1.

sonny    

FIRST!

1278 days ago
2.

moussemaker    

"the charge of stealing a necklace is no big whoop."

Good to know.

1278 days ago
3.

panzer88    

ugly skank.. can hollywood forget about a bitch who dont care about anything but partying.. ITS BORING

1278 days ago
4.

MikeD    

Sure I say Go for it Sautner (17) ... LiLo has been a good girl ever since leaving rehab... Giver her a chance.. the little big whoop necklace.. well, just close your eyes on that one. She needs to Act.. So she doesn't have to steal... See how that works Your Honor? Please

1278 days ago
5.

Jim in Cali    

"Fact is, in the greater scheme of things, Lindsay's DUI convictions do not make her a serious criminal, and the charge of stealing a necklace is no big whoop".

Excuse me? TMZ is acting like everyone gets DUI's and steals things? WTF?

1278 days ago
6.

ria    

Harvey you need to Stop giving Holley Tips...pzzzzzzzzzz :)

1278 days ago
7.

Sonia    

dui-S?!! plural!!! not a serious criminal?? wtf? i think thats should be considered attempted murders personally. what if she hit and killed sum1 u loved? n that= this post is rated nc17 crap was pretty dumb

1278 days ago
8.

Lighten    

Very, very disturbing claim TMZ:

"the charge of stealing a necklace is no big whoop."

I am losing more and more respect for this site.

1278 days ago
9.

The Truth    

One Problem with 17. She already has theft issue previously and prior un-convicted acts count. And so do those nasty kidnapping charges and felony drug posessions and ...on and on.

Of course plead to the lessor charge and do a little jail time for it and a Year or more for the Probation Violation. As the judge said before, no more chances you will go to jail for violation of your probation.

See ya worthless

1278 days ago
10.

not a lawyer    

I agree with TMZ here, the judge should rely on CPC 17(b)(5) to downgrade the charge.

In a typical felony, items of substantial value are attempted to be stolen from someone. There is some risk in other words that someone, the victim, will be permanently deprived of a valuable item.

Here, there was never any real question that Lohan could have permanently taken the necklace. After all, everyone knew who had the necklace and where it was.

As a practical matter though, in such a high-profile case, judges are very reluctant to be lenient towards controversial celebrities, because it subjects them to so much criticism. So, it is very unlikely that CPC 17(b)(5) will be used here. TMZ is right, if the defendant were not so high-profile and controversial, the charge would normally be reduced to a misdemeanor.

1278 days ago
11.

Phreaky    

Of course it will happen, if it's not dropped all together because she always skates. But that's ok, the more it happens, the more likely she will relapse, and we'll be rid of her for good.

1278 days ago
12.

gretchen    

If she is guilty I hope she has learned a lesson and pays the consequences with JAIL.

1278 days ago
13.

chrisg    

HAHA did TMZ really honestly say that a DUI is not that serious. Excuse me, TWO (2) DUI convictions? What world are you living on? LOL PLEASEEEEEE Shawn Holley! Listen to this mediocre legal advice, and make this your defense. Let's get blohan in jail. :-)

1278 days ago
14.

jack-55d79    

I am not a lawyer though, and reading through the actual law:

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=2-24

17.5 (8) seems to imply that if Penal Code 17(B) is accepted, it will basically be the plea deal that was rejected because it doesn't rule out county jail (but does prison, which is worse) or further probation or community based programs.

Furthermore, from what I can see of the applications of 17(B) seem to primarily apply to first time offenders. I also wonder how rejecting the initial plea deal will affect application of 17(B).

If SH pulls it off, good for her. I hope she gets it. But I'm really not sure. Will be fascinating to watch.

1278 days ago
15.

skylift    

The problem with this is that Lindsay didn't steal the necklace and the store owners are bogus chumps. Or should I say chimps that love to eat bananas. I've seen Lindsay frolicking around main street before and dancing in that cute pink mini skirt with a heart on the left side. I really have! She does a hair toss while eating a slice of pizza and not gaining a pound. Then parties with Sarah Pickings. The judge in this case has a serious problem with self impotence, or should I say importance. Yes, that's what I meant. However the key factor is that the judge also likes bananas. On a side note, the judge was caught as a young child smoking strange weeds from the yard while yodeling in a high octave. As they say, sugar and spice, everything nice. But if Lindsay gets off with this, that's cool because the store owners are really just a bunch of publicity seeking scamsters. Also the store owners do NOT like anything to do with bananas. Even still, Lindsay probably has nothing to worry about.

1278 days ago
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