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Paris Hilton sentenced to 45 days in jail

Story Highlights

• She wanted to continue to drive regardless, judge says
• Publicist testifies he told heiress it was OK to drive
• Mother calls sentence "a joke"; lawyer calls it "ludicrous"
• Probation stemmed from alcohol-related traffic violation
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LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- A judge sentenced Paris Hilton to 45 days in county jail Friday for violating her probation, putting the brakes on the hotel heiress's famous high life.

Hilton, who parlayed her name and relentless partying into worldwide notoriety, must go to jail by June 5.

She will not be allowed any work release, furloughs, use of an alternative jail or electronic monitoring in lieu of jail, Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer ruled after a hearing.

The judge, saying "there's no doubt she knew her license had been suspended," ruled that she was in violation of the terms of her probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.

"I'm very sorry, and from now on I'm going to pay complete attention to everything. I'm sorry, and I did not do it on purpose at all," she told the judge before he announced the sentence.

She was then ordered to report to a women's jail in suburban Lynwood by the set date or face 90 days behind bars. The judge's ruling excluded her from paying to serve time in a jail of her choice, as some violators are allowed to do.

As a city prosecutor said during closing arguments that Hilton deserved jail time, Hilton's mother, Kathy, laughed. When the judge ruled, Kathy Hilton then blurted out: "May I have your autograph?"

Paris Hilton was among a series of witnesses who took the stand during the hearing. She testified she believed her license was initially suspended for 30 days and that she was allowed to drive for work purposes during the next 90 days. (Watch why Hilton thought it was OK to be driving Video)

She said that when an officer who stopped her in January made her sign a document stating her license was suspended, she thought he was mistaken and did not actually look at the document.

Also called to the stand was Hilton's spokesman, Elliot Mintz. Hilton and her attorneys characterized Mintz as a liaison between Hilton and her lawyers.

Mintz testified that to his knowledge Hilton did not drive during the 30-day period. He said he then advised her that he believed her license was no longer suspended.

The judge called Mintz's testimony worthless and expressed disbelief at Hilton's excuse.

"I can't believe that either attorney did not tell her that the suspension had been upheld," the judge said. "She wanted to disregard everything that was said and continue to drive no matter what."

Hilton looked forward and didn't speak to news media as she left court with her mother.

When a reporter asked what she thought of the judge's decision, a visibly angry Kathy Hilton responded: "What do you think? This is pathetic and disgusting, a waste of taxpayer money with all this nonsense. This is a joke."

Defense attorney Howard Weitzman said he would appeal.

"I'm shocked, I'm surprised and really disheartened in the system that I've worked in for close to 40 years," Weitzman said.

He said the sentence was "uncalled for, inappropriate and bordered on the ludicrous."

"I think she's singled out because of who she is," Weitzman said.

Hilton had arrived at the Metropolitan Courthouse 10 minutes late and ignored screams of photographers as she swept in with her attorneys, mother and father, Rick Hilton.

The celebrity case brought an unusual scene to the austere courthouse south of downtown in a commercial area. As if at a red carpet event, dozens of photographers and reporters lined up at the rear entrance. Yellow police tape substituted for velvet ropes.

String of traffic violations

Hilton, 26, pleaded no contest in January to reckless driving stemming from a Sept. 7 arrest in Hollywood. Police said she appeared intoxicated and failed a field sobriety test. She had a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent, the level at which an adult driver is in violation of the law.

She was sentenced to 36 months' probation, alcohol education and $1,500 in fines.

Two other traffic stops and failure to enroll in a mandated alcohol education program are what landed the socialite back in court.

On January 15, Hilton was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol. Officers informed her that she was driving on a suspended license and she signed a document acknowledging that she was not to drive, according to papers filed in Superior Court.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies stopped Hilton on February 27 and charged her with violating her probation. Police said she was pulled over about 11 p.m. after authorities saw the car speeding with its headlights off.

Mintz said at the time Hilton wasn't aware her license was suspended. A copy of the document Hilton signed on January 15 was found in the car's glove compartment, court papers say.

Hilton was also required to enroll in an alcohol education program by February 12. As of April 17, she had not enrolled, prosecutors said.

Hilton, heiress to the Hilton Hotel fortune, first gained notoriety for her hard partying as a teen. She attracted worldwide attention when a sex tape she made with a boyfriend was released on the Internet.

She stars in the reality-TV series "The Simple Life," now in its fifth season, with Nicole Richie. She appeared in the 2005 film "House of Wax" and recently finished filming "The Hottie and the Nottie." She also is a handbag designer and has a namesake perfume.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Paris Hilton leaves the Metropolitan Courthouse Friday after being sentenced to jail time.

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