Public defenders practice only criminal law, which makes them specialists with a lot of experience. Private lawyers practice civil law as well as criminal. Public defenders are busy and in that sense, they practice no-frills law. They can be tough to reach on the phone, as they are always in court. But because they are always in court all day, every day, they know all of the judges,all of the prosecutors and all of the court personnel. That can be an advantage when what you're looking for is a good deal on a plea agreement
. On the other hand, when you hire a private lawyer, you can shop around and pick someone you're confident in. When the court gives you a public defender, you get whoever is on the top of the list, so to speak, on that day. Maybe you'll like him. Maybe you won't. There's a right to a free lawyer, but not to the free lawyer of your choice.
I can't say what your fine -- if any -- will be because I have no idea what you'll be offered as a plea bargain. There are options other than jail or fine that could be coming your way, such as probation with community service and restitution and there's no point in my guessing at fine levels.
I can say that with a first offense of this sort, if you make your court appearances, you will not have to worry about jail. That should take some of the pressure off of your mind. Just make sure that your lawyer has a handle on your immigration consequences before you agree to take any plea offer.
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This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your Atate for specific legal advice.