Columbus Short is now on the Lindsay Lohan plan ... as in, he just dodged a jail sentence for a serious crime, but he's gonna have to keep his nose clean for a long time.
Short pled no contest on Thursday to felony assault for knocking out a guy at a West L.A. restaurant in March 2014. As we previously reported ... Short broke the victim's nose, leaving him bloodied and unconscious.
The ex "Scandal" star was immediately sentenced to 3 years probation, 60 days community labor, and 26 anger management classes. He will also have to pay restitution to the victim.
As LiLo and Chris Brown would tell Columbus -- best to stay out of trouble for the next 36 months.