A judge in Los Angeles has ended Lindsay Lohan's probation and given her back her freedom.

Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner ended the Mean Girls star's probation imposed for a 2007 drink-driving offence, eliminating the need for Lindsay to appear in court or report to a probation officer.

The 25-year-old actress remains on informal probation for taking a 2,500 dollar (£1,570) necklace without permission last year, but the immediate threat of jail or further punishment is over.

Lindsay has struggled for four-and-a-half years to put her two drink-driving arrests behind her and has been under constant scrutiny since she missed a court hearing in May 2010. J

udge Sautner said the star had done everything that had been asked of her since late last year.

Lindsay thanked Judge Sautner for her patience and let out a sigh of relief as she left the courtroom after the brief hearing.

"I just want to say thank you for being fair. It's really opened a lot of doors for me," she said.

The hearing came as the starlet's career is showing hints of a comeback.

Lindsay is due to guest star in a forthcoming episode of Glee, recently hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live and is set to star as Elizabeth Taylor in a television movie.