My question involves criminal law for the state of: WI
My daughter who is 15 was at the shopping mall with her 17 year old friend. My daughter had made 3 purchases from other stores and had 3 large shopping bags that her and her friend were caring when entering another retail store. During their time in the store, the 17 year old decided to choose several items that she liked. My daughter asked her how much money she had with her and her comment was that it would be "free". My daughter thought she was kidding and told her "no way". Her friend then went to the register to pay for some items, while my daughter stood and held all of the shopping bags. After the purchase, my daughter handed her back 2 of the bags and she was caring 1 bag, which did not contain an merchandise from that store. As they left the store they were detained and sent to the back for shop lifting. The clerk took all of the shopping bags and her friends purse. The searched everything, and then called the police. My daughter (15) did not have any stolen merchandise on her person and had receipts for all of her purchases. She was issued a citation for retail theft 23.54 with a non mandatory court date for $109.00 and her friend was issued the same ticket but for $475.00. The police advised it was because of their age. The officer also advised that it was "no big deal" for my daughter since it was her first offense, all she should do is show up on the court date and the judge would probably drop it. She was advised that she was given the citation because even though she didn't shop lift herself, being there with her friend was the same thing. They were also told to sign a paper banning them from the mall for the next 12 months. No parents were contacted, my daughter was searched by the store employee, not the police and she was asked to sign something that I do not have a copy of. I have called the mall security, who denied my request for a copy and stated that she can not even go to the mall with me without prior approval from them.
We are unsure what we should do next, and if we need an attorney for the court date. Should she plead not guilty, and how this will affect her future plans.