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Probable-cause can put you in legal hot water; it may even cause charges to be filed against you. This is what happened to one mother when she punished her daughter for misbehaving.

Jodie May’s teenage daughter got into some trouble at school. The school called her, and when her daughter returned home that afternoon, Jodie took away her cell phone as punishment.

The parents of the teen are divorced, and the young girl called her father to tattle on her mother for taking her phone away. The teen’s dad then called the police and told them that he was the owner of the phone. He reported Jodie for stealing his property.

He went as far as filing a criminal complaint against her, and police went to her house and arrested May. She was later freed on a $200 bond pending trial. She was officially charged with misdemeanor larceny, which carries a sentence of 93 days in jail.

But that wasn’t the end of the legal problems for Jodie May. The week before the trial was to begin, prosecutors added yet another charge – larceny by conversion, which also carries a sentence of 93 days in jail.

Jodie May was going through all of this because she punished her daughter for getting into trouble at school.

Luckily, before trial began, prosecutors wanted to meet with the judge. After talking with witnesses they told the judge that the father did not own the phone; it was property of the teenage daughter. Since her daughter is a minor, she was well within her rights to confiscate the phone. The charges were dropped.

May’s court-appointed attorney said this: “The case was authorized on a probable-cause basis, and unfortunately, at times, there are misdemeanor cases that are not thoroughly vetted…Miss May was a victim of that.”

Have you ever been questioned about punishing your child; much less, arrested for doing so?

If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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