Thank you for your question. Sorry about that rock apparently being forbidden territory.
Court clerks cannot give legal advice but they can speak truth about public records and such. Paying a fine constitutes a guilty plea, a public confession of wrongdoing, and a final and almost-always irrevocable criminal
In this case, conviction of a misdemeanor.
That's the legal side.
The non-legal side is a brutally honest assessment of who in the world will care about this...
a. between now and when the criminal conviction can be expunged or sealed; AND
b. if the suspect gets the criminal record expunged or sealed later on, who will STILL care about it?
Please note that more and more entities, governmental and private regulatory, demand full disclosure of EVERYTHING (usually other than misdemeanor *traffic* and parking offenses) regardless of the subject having what appears to be a legal right to answer "no convictions" to that most distressing of questions. For example, getting a license to practice law, or a securities or insurance sales license.
THAT's why people are willing to spend $1,000 on an attorney to negotiate a $700 fine offense "down" to something else. One jurisdiction I know of has a tradition of taking medium traffic offenses down to "non-moving violations", but often with traffic school AND paying the FULL fine.
Just saw a DMV driving record last week from one person whose attorney had accomplished the same sort of "no record" status using another jurisdiction's tradition called a "plea in abeyance"--a conditional guilty plea, paying the full fine, and then the case getting dismissed *without conviction* a year later IF the person gets ZERO traffic citations. Last one I negotiated (for someone else) had only a six-month "stay clean" period.
So, to try to get a "plea bargain", one generally needs to enter a not guilty plea (which can often be done by a hired attorney without the person being there--but check the court FIRST), then have the attorney show up to the pre-trial
session and negotiate with the prosecutor.
Unless the suspect can live with all of the consequences of the misdemeanor criminal conviction.