When you appear in court, you can apply for a public defender. If you are unemployed and have few assets, a lawyer will be appointed for you. At the first appearance, called an arraignment, very little will occur. Often, you are simply advised of the charges against you and a new pretrial date is set. Your public defender will meet with you briefly before the hearing and, before your next court appearance, will acquire all the necessary police reports to discuss with you potential defenses.
If you have a clean record, often a conviction can be avoided with a Stay of Prosecution. That means the matter is placed on hold and if you have no same or similar offenses in a defined period, usually one year, the case is dismissed.
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Most lawyers will offer a free consultation. However, no lawyer can tell you the likely outcome without reviewing the evidence which would include all of the police reports. The evidence held by the prosecutor is turned over as discovery in the case. That evidence will allow the attorney to devise arguments and a defense.
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