"I think that you need to hit rock bottom before you make a decision about what you're going to do in the future," Superior Court Judge Rand Rubin told the sobbing Love.
She was in court for being under the influence of a controlled substance, which was not identified.
Wearing a brown jacket, red-and-brown patterned skirt and high-heeled boots, Love's voice cracked as she said, "Yes, your honor," when asked by Rubin if she understood she was admitting to three probation violations. Love is on probation in three separate cases.
Love was told to enter a drug treatment facility by the end of the day. Weitzman would not disclose the name of the facility or whether it was a lock-down program.
The judge ordered her back to court Sept. 16 for sentencing on the probation violations.
"There will be sentencing and some further consequences at that time," Rubin said. "I think you either need a long-term drug program or a long term in County Jail."
Love dabbed at her eyes with tissues, then cried on defense attorney Howard Weitzman's shoulder and hugged him when the hearing ended.
Outside court, Weitzman said Love had had a relapse but will "deal with it."
"She's serious. She's sincere. And she's pretty tenacious about getting her life in order." Weitzman said. The lawyer explained Love had violated terms of probation in one case but that "if you violate in one you violate in all."
Love, the former lead singer for the band Hole and the widow of Kurt Cobain, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge on Feb. 10. She was already on probation in two unrelated drug cases.
Earlier this month, the judge issued a bench warrant for Love's arrest, but he agreed to hold it pending Friday's hearing.
At a red carpet event this month, Love said: "I'm clean and sober for over a year and no one seems to care! They're like, 'Oh, her dramatic weight gain.' So, stop making fun of me!"
In July, a judge praised the singer for making progress in a court-ordered drug treatment program. The treatment is tied to a misdemeanor count of being under the influence of a controlled substance in 2003 when police alleged she tried to break into a former boyfriend's home.