Thank you for the opportunity to assist you.
Q) We have a probation intake meeting this Tuesday. I'm wondering what to expect
is different than adult court for a lot of reasons. Most importantly, the emphasis is on rehabilitation for juveniles, whereas adult court is really punishment oriented.
So, when you meet with the intake officer, that person could (but doesn't have to) simply not proceed any farther with the case. This would obviously be the best result.
In other words, the intake officer can simply take the view that the alleged crime is minimal, no one was hurt, your daughter has never been in trouble before, etc. In addition, the plan that you've outlined will hopefully go a LONG way toward convincing the intake officer that any consequences to her actions will be handled at home. There's no need for further court involvement since you, her parent, will take an active role in following up on this situation. Hopefully, the intake officer will simply let your daughter go without any charges being processed through to the next level and on to court.
It's possible, of course, that the intake officer may go the opposite route and put your daughter on the adjudication track. ("Adjudication" is juvenile speak for a trial
.) There's still ample room for hope even if this happens. It's not uncommon for juveniles who have a first offense to have the matter dismissed on certain conditions, like performing community service, being on probation, staying out of trouble, maintaining a good GPA at school, etc. That should be your ultimate goal: to have the charge dismissed. There's no reason for a young lady to start off life with a black mark on her record for a childish and immature prank.
Finally, like anyone in the U.S., your daughter has a 6th amendment right to an attorney. You can hire one if the family can afford it, or an attorney can be appointed if you qualify financially. It's possible an attorney could help negotiate a favorable disposition for your daughter if the matter goes past tomorrow's meeting with the intake officer. It's also possible that the attorney may recommend having a trial, if the attorney believes the evidence will not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your daughter is guilty of stealing. Of course, it is ultimately your daughter's decision whether she wants to have a trial or to negotiate some sort of agreed upon disposition.
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