Last week, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy, she became the target of an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department over the possible theft of a $2500, one-of-a-kind necklace, and now she may be up against felony charges.
Prosecutors have been reviewing the case, and haven't announced their decision, but could file those charges as soon as today, according to celebrity website TMZ.com.
This could, says Tracy, put the actress back behind bars - perhaps in state prison, not county jail. And that prospect, TMZ Executive Producer Harvey Levin told CBS News, has Lohan "scared." The charges could be felony grand theft.
A jewelry store is accusing her of stealing the 2 thousand five hundred dollar, one-of-a-kind piece.
In a statement, Lohan defense attorney Shawn Chapman Holley insists, "We vehemently deny these allegations and, if charges are filed, we will fight them in court, not in the press."
The jewelry store claims to have handed police surveillance tape of Lohan walking out with the stolen necklace Jan. 22.
But she says it's all just a big mix up.
"Lindsay insists," says Levin, "that she borrowed the $2,500 dollar necklace from the store, that it was given to her on loan. … that a lot of people do throw things at her to wear in public because she's photographed so much. … The question is, was it loaned to her or did she steal it?"
Lohan has been behind bars three times in three years after a pair of DUI arrests -- all brief stays in county jail. A felony conviction, says Tracy, could land her in state prison for as long as three years.
"If she's in state prison," observes CBS News legal analyst Trent Copeland, "she's likely to experience a very different reality from the one she's known. She's gonna be there with hardened, violent offenders, people who've committed violent crimes."
Lohan also faces possible assault charges after a December altercation with an employee of the Betty Ford Center, where she was rehabbing.
But experts say the felony grand theft case is the most troubling.
"She's scared," Levin remarked. "She is really scared about going to prison … and I think she realizes that now, it's even more serious than DUIs … and that now, a lot of people are kind of giving up on her."
New charges in either case, says Tracy, could be considered a violation of Lohan's probation. She faces the judge again Feb. 25, and he has warned her he's prepared to sentence her to six months for a single violation.
Felony charges would certainly be serious, CBS News legal analyst Jack Ford told "Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge Monday.
The cutoff for such charges in California, Ford says, is $950, and the necklace's value is put at $2,500. "So by the numbers," Ford says, "it puts it in the felony category. Once you start talking about felonies, then you're talking about a wide range of sentences. But it could be as much, maximum, could be three years in prison. So (there's some) serious stuff going on here."
Why does Lohan seem to keep getting in trouble - if she is indeed at it again here? "It's really a fabulous question we're all trying to figure out," "Early Show" contributor and psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein told Wragge. "I think part of it is, even though she's been in all these things, there is a level of accountability that she's never really had to take. They still kind of constantly shorten her sentence. Give her less. Let her off. Say, 'Oh, you're Lindsay Lohan, it's OK. So there's something about it where no one is really saying to her, 'You need to be accountable for your actions. This is what you need to do. You need to be honest, you need to be upstanding, you need to be focused on what is good for you and really go there.' She always jumps right back into work, she jumps right back into things. Who's holding her accountable for what she's doing?
How do you break that cycle?
"We've got to get her somebody around her," Hartstein replied. … Someone needs to help her be responsible."
To see the complete interview of Ford and Hartstein, click below: