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Mr. Lofton
Mr. Lofton, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1291
Experience:  25 years experience
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My daughter is a fifteen year old girl from Ohio and she ...

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My daughter is a fifteen year old girl from Ohio and she was caught shoplifting at a Macy''s, a $58 dress. This is her first offense for anything. What should I expect when I go to court?

You should expect a "diversion". Fortunately, the State of Ohio prefers rehabilitation to conviction for juveniles whenever possible. Unless they are tried as an adult, juveniles are deemed "responsible" for a crime and are not declared "guilty". There are a number of alternative sentencing programs available to juveniles, including diversion, boot camp, mandatory counseling, and other programs. These can allow juveniles to obtain the help they need, while preserving their career and educational options.

The Diversion Program is a deferred prosecution program that has operated within the Prosecuting Attorney's office since its inception in 1975. Diversion is a voluntary program which channels first-time nonviolent offenders into such programs as community service, high school completion, drug and alcohol treatment or individual counseling.

The program accepts only first time property and marijuana possession offenders. The terms of each individual program are based on a contract between the probationer and the Prosecutor's Diversion Program. The offender must meet all terms of the contract including not violating any criminal laws, paying probation fees, maintaining active employment or educational status, paying restitution when applicable, meeting regularly with a caseworker and participating in any substance abuse, mental health or vocational programs as required. They must also volunteer 40-80 hours at a nonprofit agency within the community.

Offenders who successfully complete the program are not formally charged with the offense, and receive no criminal record for their original offense.

Since this is a first offense I would not worry; importantly you want this expereince to have the desired effect on your daughter to make certain she remains law abiding in the future.

All the best,

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