Lindsay Lohan was taken into custody in handcuffs after a US judge revoked the terms of her probation.
The actress was escorted from a hearing after it was revealed she’d been kicked off a community service assignment at a women’s shelter.
It is the latest legal problem for the 25-year-old, who was given probation for a 2007 drink-drive case and a theft this year.
Bail was set at $100,000 (£63,000) which was posted immediately.
“There has been violation after violation,” superior court judge Stephanie Sautner told Lindsay Lohan.
A city prosecutor recommended jail time but the judge set a hearing for 2 November to decide whether the star should serve more time behind bars.
She has already spent four short spells in jail but has been released early on each occasion because of jail overcrowding.
“We’re dealing with someone on probation,” said Lohan’s attorney, Shawn Holley. “Most people on probation don’t always do things perfectly.”
The actress, who has appeared in Mean Girls and TV series Ugly Betty, was meant to serve 360 hours at the Downtown Women’s Centre in April, an agency that helps homeless women.
The judge said nine of Lindsay Lohan’s appointments at the centre were “blown off” and she “showed up once and left after an hour”.
The actress was criticised for failing to show up for her four-hour appointments at the women’s centre and taking six months to complete a court-ordered Shoplifters Anonymous course.
Lohan has since started working with the American Red Cross, but judge Stephanie Sautner said that would not count because it was not part of her sentence.
The judge also asked how Lohan could have complied with her weekly psychological counselling when she was travelling in Europe between 9 September and 5 October.
Lindsay Lohan Another mugshot of Lindsay Lohan was taken after her probation was revoked
“I don’t know how she did that in person every week,” said Sautner, who suggested Lohan complete a minimum of 16 hours of her community service at the county morgue before her hearing in November.
Previously the star violated her probation in a 2007 drink-drive case and was sentenced her to jail and rehab.
She was released early and was sent to the Betty Ford Centre, where she got in an altercation with a rehab worker, who later sued her for damages.
Weeks after being let out of the Betty Ford Centre, Lohan was accused of taking a $2,500 (£1,500) necklace without permission from a jewellery store near her home in Los Angeles.
That was seen as a probation violation and Lohan was ordered to undergo psychological counselling and perform 480 hours of community service, with 120 hours to be spent at the morgue.
Lohan later pleaded no contest to a theft charge and served 35 days of a four-month sentence under house arrest.