I fail to see how dropping the earrings on the floor is anything but fumble fingers, which last I checked was not a criminal offense. If the clerk is saying that your daughter was trying to drop the earrings into a purse and missed and they went on the floor, or took the earrings out of a purse and dropped them on the floor to avoid having them on her, then there is a problem, as it is likely that there was a surveillance camera filming what was going on, although the angle(s) of the camera(s) taking the shot(s) may not have picked up anything.
Your daughter did the correct thing in not saying anything until you arrived. The next step is to hire an criminal defense attorney to represent her. A theft conviction carries a terrible stigma forever when she will be applying for schools, jobs, credit, etc. The attorney can investigate to see if there is video, and if so what it shows and does npot show, and question the store/state witnesses. If the evidence is strong, the attorney can try to get your daughter into a pretrial diversion program which if successfully completed would lead to the charges being dismissed, or at least agree to a withhold of adjudication so that her record may be sealed later. If the evidence is weak, the attorney can work on the prosecutor to drop the charges now. Either way, your daughter needs an attorney to protect her interests.
Without having more facts or witness statements to review, it is difficult to be too specific, but I hope this information is helpful. Please click Accept so that I may be credited for my assistance. Thank you and good luck.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).