Troubled "America's Next Top Model
" alum Renee Alway
SHAVED OFF HER HAIR before facing the judge in her burglary case -- in an effort to convince the judge she's a changed woman.
Alway -- who placed 3rd on ANTM during Season 8 -- appeared in a Palm Springs courtroom Thursday stemming from a 6-hour armed standoff with police last month.
Nothing really happened during the hearing ... except for the debut of Alway's new haircut.
So, why the extreme new 'do? Alway's sister tells TMZ ... the former model wants to "start over" and believes the first step is a radical new look ... hence the buzz job.
Plus, we're told ... Alway hated the way her hair looked in her mug shot, which probably made it easier to part ways with her mane.
FYI -- Alway's been arrested at least 4 times this year ... so, if she REALLY wants to fix her life, it's gonna take more than a haircut.
She's due back in court in August.