LOS ANGELES (AP) -- For the first time in months, Lindsay Lohan has a court date and she isn't required to appear.
The starlet, who has been a constant fixture at Los Angeles courthouses for nearly a year, is not expected to attend a hearing Wednesday in which her attorney may enter a plea that ends a necklace theft case before trial.
Despite being sentenced to serve 120 days in jail at her last appearance, a judge's decision to downgrade Lohan's felony grand theft case to a misdemeanor means the actress won't have to walk the divided sea of cameras that have given her court appearances a movie premiere feel.
It is Lohan's desire to get back to being filmed as an actress, not a suspect, that has fueled Lohan's desire to end the case with a no contest plea, a person close to Lohan and familiar with her thinking told The Associated Press last month. The person was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The "Mean Girls" star has been cast to play the wife of John Gotti Jr. in a biopic of the infamous mob family titled "Gotti: Three Generations." The film is scheduled to film later this year in New York, and several factors may keep the case from interfering with her shooting the film.
Misdemeanor defendants in criminal matters can generally have their attorneys handle all aspects of their case without appearing in court.
Lohan's lack of a serious criminal record, and the misdemeanor status of her cases, have resulted in three jails stints that ranged from 84 minutes to a few hours. Her longest stay was 14 days after another judge sentenced her to three months in jail -- the reduced times are due to jail overcrowding and state-mandated credits for time-served.
The cycle continued April 22 when Lohan was released after a few hours because her attorney indicated she would appeal the four-month jail sentence for her probation violation.
Neither Lohan nor Holley have done anything to pursue the appeal since then.
Los Angeles sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Tuesday there are many variables that can impact how long Lohan will spend in jail, and he noted that she may be able to serve her sentence at home through electronic monitoring.
"We don't know what the judge is going to order," Whitmore said, noting that in some cases electronic monitoring is specifically ruled out. If Lohan is ordered to spend time behind bars, it will be in a solitary unit at a women's jail where she has been sent four times before.
Lohan's case has been retained by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner, who last month ruled that Lohan could stand trial for walking out of an upscale jewelry store still wearing a $2,500 necklace she hadn't paid for. Despite living nearby, Lohan never tried to return the item until after it was reported stolen and police obtained a search warrant. Her assistant delivered the necklace to detectives before the warrant could be served.
"I see a level of brazenness with, `Let me see what I can get away with here,"' Sautner said of Lohan's actions.
Her taking of the necklace came roughly three weeks after the 24-year-old was released after spending three months in court-ordered rehab, and while she was still on probation for a 2007 drunken driving case. Her career has been essentially stalled since then, and judges last year sent her to jail twice and rehab twice and have repeatedly proclaimed her chances for leniency were over.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/celebritydocket
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)