Nicole Richie opts for county jail

(Nick Ut / AP)
Times Staff Writer

Following in the footsteps of her gal pal Paris Hilton, celebrity sidekick Nicole Richie has told authorities through her attorney that she intends to serve her 90-hour sentence in Los Angeles County jail rather than a “pay to stay” program in a municipal lockup.

“Ms. Richie’s attorney has contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and has indicated that her client wants to serve her sentence in the Los Angeles County jail,” said sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore, who declined to elaborate.

Richie’s attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, could not be reached for comment.

Last spring, Hilton was sentenced to 45 days in county jail before sheriff’s officials said her sentence would be cut in half for good behavior.

She was credited with serving five days before she was released for an undisclosed medical condition.

A judge demanded that Hilton be returned to jail, where she served the remainder of her 23 days at medical facilities in downtown and Lynwood.

Whitmore would not say if Richie would get similar time off for good behavior. But officials said she could serve very little of the sentence if there are problems of jail overcrowding.

Richie, who co-stars with Hilton in the reality television show “The Simple Life,” was arrested Dec. 11 by California Highway Patrol officers after driving the wrong way on the 134 Freeway in Burbank.

Officers said they found Richie stopped in the carpool lane. She told officers she had smoked marijuana and taken the painkiller Vicodin. She had been previously arrested on suspicion of possessing heroin and spent time in rehabilitation.

Richie has until Sept. 28 to begin serving her time.