Theft is a crime of moral turpitude which can have immigration consequences. Your questions better suited to an immigration attorney. You should certainly consult with one, in conjunction with whomever is representing your daughter in the criminal matter, and make retain not to do anything in the criminal case until you have a clear picture of everything.
There are attorneys who specialize in "crimmigration" meaning that they will handle both your criminal and immigration issues. I suggest finding one in Lincoln. My colleague is correct that this is a crime of moral turpitude, but I'm not certain it falls in the realm of something that they can deny a visa for.
I am a licensed attorney in the state of Nebraska. However, the advice I give here is not to be taken as legal advice. It is merely my opinion based on the limited information given. In order to assure that your legal rights are being properly represented I would always recommend going in for a consultation with an attorney to explain your case in detail and answer any questions the attorney might have.
You really need to hire an attorney and have the matter transferred to diversion so that she does not end up with a conviction. While it is not likely that it will impact your visa, it would be looked at in the process and diversion will keep the conviction from her record. Happy to discuss this with you a free consultation.
J visas are typically for the duration of the program, and some of this depends on the details of your status and how you intend to "renew" (are you getting an extension through the program? are you departing and returning? etc.). The consequence of a theft crime depends on a few factors, such as the possible sentence and the sentence imposed, and the context in which the offense comes up (because the law is different when it comes to "inadmissibility" and "removability").
Avoiding a conviction is probably the best option, but bear in mind that "conviction" is defined differently for immigration and state criminal purposes. You'll want to consult an immigration attorney to learn the potential consequence of any contemplated plea that aims to avoid a conviction. If it's not possible to avoid a conviction, focusing on the sentence may be the best way to reduce or avoid an adverse immigration consequence. If you cannot find an immigration attorney who focuses on the consequences of crimes, you should consult a criminal attorney, learn what specific options exist, and then consult an immigration attorney about the consequences of those specific options.
Please note that he information above is general in nature and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between us. It is intended simply as background material, is current only as of its indicated date, and may not include important details and special rules that could be applicable to your case. You should consult an attorney directly before acting or refraining from action.