LOS ANGELES - Troubled Hollywood starlet Lindsay Lohan sobbed and pleaded in court but a judge still slapped her with 90 days in jail for violating probation in two 2007 drunken driving cases.

LOS ANGELES - Troubled Hollywood starlet Lindsay Lohan sobbed and pleaded in court but a judge still slapped her with 90 days in jail for violating probation in two 2007 drunken driving cases.

The actress, 24, was also ordered on Tuesday to take part in a 90-day in-patient substance abuse programme.

"I'm not taking this as a joke and this is my life. This is my career and everything I've worked for my whole life. If I had known I had to be here every week, I would've balanced it - work and everything ... It's just been such a long haul," Lohan pleaded with Beverly Hills Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel.

The judge, however, would have none of it. Revel likened Lohan to "someone who cheats and only thinks it's cheating if she gets caught". Revel announced: "The court does not buy that this time."

Once a promising young A-list actress whose career has since spun off course, Lohan has been known to audiences for years.

After working as a child model, the freckle-faced redhead earned big breaks to become a Disney star in movies like Freaky Friday, the remake of the kids' classic Parent Trap, and Herbie Fully Loaded.

Lohan wowed fellow actors and many critics, swiftly acting her way up the Hollywood food chain to A-list work with the likes of Oscar-winners Meryl Streep in Prairie Home Companion and Jane Fonda in Georgia Rule. She is currently working on a film about porn star Linda Lovelace.

After Revel sentenced Lohan, the actress, sometime singer and fashion muse burst into tears, plunging her face into her hands or sobbing on her lawyer's shoulder.

Lohan was ordered not to drink alcohol, drive a vehicle with any drugs or alcohol in her system, drive without a valid licence and insurance, or deny any field sobriety tests.

The judge ordered Lohan to begin serving her jail term on July 20. She was also ordered to maintain her alcohol-monitoring SCRAM bracelet until then. Lohan's father, Michael, told CNN that his reaction to the sentence was "dismay, but at the same time, a little satisfaction that she is going to rehab".

The Los Angeles Times reported that Lohan would probably serve just a fraction of the 90 days in the overcrowded jail system, citing Los Angeles County Sheriff spokesperson Steve Whitmore, who said women sentenced for nonviolent crimes usually serve 25percent or less of their sentence.

The actress had a stormy and endlessly chronicled relationship with celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson. Most recently she reportedly has been romantically linked to an Israeli woman, Eilat Anschel, who was seen exiting the court on Tuesday after the sentencing.

Lohan was ordered to wear the bracelet - which detects alcohol use by analysing perspiration of the wearer - at a hearing on May 24 after she had failed to appear for an earlier court date.

On June 8, the judge issued an arrest warrant for Lohan after the alarm on her monitoring device was triggered. But on Tuesday Revel stressed it was complying with the alcohol-education programme that was top priority for Lohan.

Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers said Lohan had repeatedly thumbed her nose at the court, ignoring strict orders to attend the programme once a week.

"As the court indicated, this has been going on since 2007 and we are yet to have compliance," Meyers said, noting that the actress missed the weekly classes seven times since late December.

Revel said she was clear in orders to Lohan, and that the actress should have known what she needed to do and what the penalties are for violating her probation.

"Nowhere did I say substantial compliance would be good enough," the judge said.

Lohan was arrested for driving under the influence three years ago. After a stay in rehab, she was caught two months later for drunk driving and cocaine possession. She served a mere 84 minutes in jail after the arrests. - Sapa-AFP