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Lohan, 26, was arrested shortly after 4:00 am on a third-degree misdemeanour assault charge after punching another woman in the face at a club in Manhattan's Chelsea neighbourhood, New York police said.
The charges in California were more serious, and could result in the "Mean Girls" actress having her probation revoked and being sent back to jail.
Lohan's publicist and attorney did not return calls for comment.
Lohan, who has been to rehab, jail and court numerous times since a 2007 arrest for drunk driving and cocaine possession, is currently on informal probation, following her January 2011 conviction for stealing a gold necklace from a California shop.
A Los Angeles judge had lifted her formal probation in March but told her to comply with all laws and stay out of trouble.
Police in the beach city of Santa Monica said Lohan was formally charged with reckless driving and lying to police after telling them she was not driving the Porsche that smashed into a truck on a busy highway. No one was seriously injured in the collision.
Lohan was also charged with obstructing an officer in his duty. A court date has not been set, Santa Monica police said in a statement.
In New York, Lohan was accused of punching a 28-year-old unidentified woman multiple times in the face, said New York Police Sergeant John Buthorn. The victim sustained "minor, minor injuries," he said.
The actress was released from police custody later on Thursday morning (local time).
The two incidents come during a rough week for the former child star, once one of the most promising young actresses in Hollywood.
Her most recent performance, as screen legend Elizabeth Taylor in the TV movie "Liz & Dick," was panned by critics. Cable TV channel Lifetime said a modest 3.5 million Americans watched the film, which premiered last weekend.
Lohan's recent visits to New York have been peppered with run-ins with police and public spats.
Last month, police were called to the Long Island home of Lohan's mother, Dina Lohan, after a loud argument, though no arrests were made. In September, Lohan was arrested in Manhattan after a pedestrian told police her car had struck him in an alley, but charges were not filed.