First off, it will always be worth the money to hire a lawyer now to represent you, especially if this is your first offense and you have a clean record. This is because an attorney can speak to the DA on your behalf and can talk about things with the DA that you cannot because anything you say to the DA will be used against you. Second, when you go to court, this is a misdemeanor charge and you can be sentenced up to less than a year in jail (6 months in some jurisdictions) and can be fined up to $1000. The charge will stay on your record forever unless you make a deal now or are able to pay more than the $800 the attorney is looking to charge you now for an expungement.
Your attorney should be able to work out a deal, and you need to find one who will fight for this, where you receive a deferred sentence or are placed in a first offender/diversion program, which means you will serve some community service, pay a fine, and remain on unsupervised probation for some time and after that the charge will be automatically expunged and you do not have to report it on any applications about arrest or convictions. The DA will not offer this and will simply look to give you a probation sentence and a small fine for you pleading no contest or guilty, but they will not usually offer up the defferred sentence/expungement unless you have someone to push it for you based upon your past history/record and you really cannot do this yourself because the DA will not be as easy to communicate with you as he would with your attorney.
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