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Well, this comes as a surprise … and yet not. Lindsay Lohan apparently will NOT take the plea deal the judge offered in her felony grand theft case.

The troubled star, who insists she is innocent and did not steal that $2,500 necklace, will proceed to trial and hope to remain free in the meantime.

Lindsay’s case is now assigned to Judge Stephanie Sautner – considered “a tough but fair” judge – with a preliminary hearing is set for April 22.

She faces both jail and prison as the case moves on. Here’s why …

If Judge Sautner thinks Lindsay Lohan violated probation, she could be jailed pending trial. Then, if Lindsay is convicted of grand theft, state prison beckons.

The fact that she could be thrown in jail for a probation violation before her grand theft trial made a plea bargain and three months in jail seem pretty light.

Still, it wasn’t without its own set of risks. If she copped a plea, which she was considering seriously, she would have been placed on three years’ probation.

LiLo? Staying clean for three years? ROFL. Might as well go b@lls out now.

In short, she’s hoping the judge will NOT rule on the probation violation until a verdict is reached in the grand theft case, and that she’ll be cleared there.

Smart move? You tell us: Should Lindsay have taken the plea deal?