Lindsay Lohan avoids jail again, with fired attorney in supporting role

Story highlights

NEW: The lawyer Lindsay Lohan fired in January returns to help her avoid jail again

NEW: The actress faced jail unless she entered rehab

Lohan abruptly left another rehab center Thursday

The actress must spent 90 days in rehab, a judge ordered

Los Angeles CNN  — 

Lindsay Lohan checked into a California rehab center early Friday, ending – at least for now – a drama that has had more twists and turns than a high-speed car chase.

Shawn Holley, the lawyer who guided Lohan through years of legal turmoil until the actress abruptly fired her in January, helped her avoid jail once again by brokering a deal, her father told CNN Friday.

“I am so thankful to Shawn Holley and Evan Haney, her manager, for doing this,” Michael Lohan said.

While he wouldn’t name the California facility his daughter entered, he noted it is a rehab program she’s been in before.

The actress underwent three months of court-ordered substance abuse rehab at the Betty Ford Clinic at the end of 2010, but she was in legal trouble again weeks later – facing a shoplifting charge that led to her current woes.

Lohan, 26, “wants to settle in” for a few days while arrangements can be made to transfer her to the Lukens Institute in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, which bills itself as a “luxury rehab center,” Michael Lohan said.

“The Lukens Institute is where she wanted to go all along – a place she will get the right treatment and finally get better,” Michael Lohan said.

Santa Monica City Attorney Terry White, who must approve any transfer, has not responded to CNN calls for comment.

The actress was supposed to start a 90-day stint in a “lockdown” rehab center Thursday, an alternative to a three-month jail term for two misdemeanor convictions and a shoplifting probation violation finding in March. But she abruptly left the Southern California facility where she had gone Thursday morning because “she was not happy with the place,” her father said.

Michael Lohan said he was not happy with it either because of the revelation that the facility – Morningside Recovery in Newport Beach – can’t provide alcohol and drug rehab treatments because California officials revoked its license.

“If a 24-hour residential facility is providing treatment or services to promote the recovery of alcohol and drug abuse then they must possess a license,” said Millicent Tidwell, deputy director for the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.

None of Morningside’s several locations in California are licensed, Tidwell said. The company previously had three licenses, but all were revoked. The state’s licensing agency is in litigation with Morningside’s unlicensed Newport Beach facility, she said.

It’s unclear whether Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Dabney knew Morningside was unlicensed when Lohan’s lawyer, Mark Heller, informed him in court Thursday morning that she would spend her rehab sentence there.

White objected at Thursday’s hearing, saying Heller didn’t get prior approval for Lohan to go to Morningside. White said he needed time to investigate it.

“Lindsay had no idea that Morningside wasn’t approved,” Michael Lohan said.

Heller has not respond to several CNN requests for comment.

The judge ordered the treatment after Lohan entered pleas of no contest on charges relating to a traffic accident and, with those convictions, she was found in violation of her shoplifting probation.

Her six years of legal troubles trace back to two drunken driving arrests in 2007 and include other incidents in which she was behind the wheel.

Lohan was charged with reckless driving and lying to a police officer about a June 2012 car crash in which her Porsche hit a dump truck on the Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, California. Her arrest triggered the probation violation charge.

The police report said Lohan denied being behind the wheel, but the prosecutor was expected to call witnesses who say she was driving.

Lindsay Lohan acknowledged her drug and alcohol addiction in past court appearances.

She’s spent 250 days in five rehab facilities since January 2007, including one long court-ordered stint after a failed drug test.

The actress has appeared in court at least 20 times before four Los Angeles judges who have now found her in violation of probation six times and sentenced her to a total of nine months in jail.

Lohan has spent about two weeks behind bars in six trips to the Los Angeles County jail, served 35 days under house arrest and worked about 67 days of community service at the county morgue.