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Jubilant Paris Hilton out of jail

Story Highlights

• Paris Hilton released early from jail near Los Angeles for good behavior
• Hotel heiress served 23 days for violating probation on driving conviction
• Has called jail sentence "the hardest thing I have ever done"
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Hotel heiress Paris Hilton walked out of a Los Angeles-area jail early Tuesday with a big smile on her face after serving 23 days for violating her probation on a reckless driving conviction.

With the paparazzi swarming around her, Hilton walked past several sheriff's deputies into a waiting SUV with her parents inside. She left the jail about 12:15 a.m.

The media dogged Hilton as she made her getaway, jockeying for position and snapping photographs of the socialite for miles along the Los Angeles freeway system. (Watch as Paris Hilton walks free Video)

CNN affiliate KTLA reported that Hilton went to her grandparents' home in the Benedict Canyon area of Beverly Hills.

The 26-year-old multimillionaire was sentenced to 45 days for the 2006 probation violation, but only served about half the term, gaining credit for good behavior.

"She has fulfilled her debt to society and it's now concluded." said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

Hilton is scheduled to give her first post-jail television interview on Wednesday on CNN's "Larry King Live" show, after ABC and NBC last week dropped rival offers.

Drunken driving

The imprisonment -- and temporary release -- of Hilton, who mocked her own privileged life on the reality TV show "The Simple Life," ignited a global media storm and debate about celebrity justice.

Her jail time was sparked by her arrest last September on a charge of drunken driving.

She admitted alcohol-related reckless driving in January and was sentenced to three years' probation but was caught driving the following month on a suspended license. Judge Michael Sauer ruled in May this violated her probation.

He rejected Hilton's defense that her publicist had misinformed her about the status of her license.

Hilton's lawyers said they would appeal, and supporters petitioned California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger seeking clemency.

But she surrendered to authorities on June 3 to begin her sentence and spent all 23 days bar one at Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, California.

Three days after Hilton began her jail stay, she was released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff to home detention with electronic monitoring because of an unspecified medical condition.

She was at home for just over a day before she was ordered back to jail by Superior Court Judge Michael Sauer to complete her sentence. Hilton was led out of the courtroom weeping.

"This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done," she said in a statement. "I have had a lot of time to reflect, and have already learned a bitter, but important lesson from this experience."

Hilton has said in interviews that her time behind bars has renewed her appreciation for life's simple pleasures.

"I'm so much more grateful for everything that I have, even just to have a pillow at night or food," she told TV host Ryan Seacrest in a telephone interview Thursday for E! Entertainment Television.


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