Your daughter needs representation. Fortunately though, this is just a juvenile offense, and there are many ways to get the charge hopefully dismissed and expunged. First, your daughter can force the state the prove the charge of course. In juvenile court, there are a couple of other options as well. If appropriate, the prosecutor's office can set the case for what's called an IC, which stands for intake conference, which would result in no formal charges brought. Even if a charge is filed, there is something known as a Rule 29(F)(2)(d) dismissal, which is available only in juvenile court. It would require an admission to the offense, but if appropriate the magistrate would have the power to then dismiss the case and keep it off your daughter's record.
A theft adjudication in juvenile court may, repeat MAY, show up on a background check. The only way to know for sure is to get the complaint dismissed. You should not do anything in court (other than possibly continue the case) in order to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
There's a lot to discuss on here, but I will try to give you an overview. Theft typically is a first degree misdemeanor, which means there is a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail and a thousand dollar fine. There are several factors that can be discussed here, including her status as a juvenile, her lack of a criminal history, and overall sympathy b/c any conviction may hurt her job/education prospects in the future.
I've dealt with many theft cases and often prosecutors are sympathetic to these factors and programs may be available for her to reduce her charge or even dismiss it. Feel free to contact me with further questions.
Yousef M. Faroniya, Esq.
First: it is not a good idea to post specific case information on the internet, where it can be viewed by anybody. Second: you need to find a good attorney in your area with whom you can discuss your daughter's case in confidence. There may be diversion programs available in your area, but you should talk with a local attorney to determine the best course of action.
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The best way to help your child in this situation is to hire them a good criminal defense lawyer who has experience in juvenile cases. Most likely this is not something that will affect her life regarding college or jobs. This will go on her juvenile record which is able to be sealed as long as she stays out of trouble. With that being said an attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor and sometimes can avoid an adjudication (conviction) of delinquency all together depending on the court and willingness of the prosecutor. If that is the case then it is certain that it won't affect the future. An attorney will also be a person that you can lean on for support through this very overwhelming and scary process. If you can not afford an attorney you may be eligible to receive free legal assistance through the court or public defender's office. Good luck.
Dayton area criminal defense
The responses of Attorney Chris Beck to any questions posed on Avvo do NOT establish an Attorney-client relationship. Attorney Beck is available for private hire and consultation for a fee. Only after Attorney Beck is retained as counsel, or agrees to discuss this matter with you privately, shall he be legally deemed to be your Attorney. His responses herein are an attempt to assist persons temporarily based upon the very extremely limited amount of information provided by the questioner
If there were several stores involved, there would likely be multiple theft charges on the complaint she was issued. If not listed there, or there was additional investigation, it would be found out through the discovery process or by speaking with the prosecuting attorney.
The choice of whether or not to get legal representation is as always a personal one. Generally, if someone hires me in a stiuation like your daughter's, it would be because they have not been through this process and do not want to take any chances.
A theft conviction is not something she wants to have now or in the future for school or employment puproses. Generally, there are questions about criminal convictions on college applications and work applications as well. It is imperative to consider a sealing of her record when and if appropriate as well.
In my opinion, any type of theft case demands the utmost attention.
The responses of Attorney Benjamin Luftman to any questions posed on Avvo do NOT establish an Attorney-client relationship. Attorney Luftman is available for private hire and consultation for a fee. Only after Attorney Luftman is retained as counsel, or agrees to discuss this matter with you privately, shall he be legally deemed to be your Attorney. His responses herein are an attempt to assist persons temporarily based upon the very extremely limited amount of information provided by the questioner.