Joe Francis Free at Last!

9/23/2009 1:26 PM PDT

Joe Francis -- Free at Last!

Joe Francis has just dodged a bullet by pleading guilty to filing false tax returns.

Francis struck a deal with federal prosecutors in L.A. and will avoid jail time. He'll plead guilty to two counts of filing bogus returns.

Francis could have faced 10 years in prison. Instead, he'll pay $250,000 in restitution and get credit for time service -- 301 days in jail.