This is my first offense besides a civil violations. I dont have theft on my record, but this is a felony. I was appointed a public defender.
If you do nothing at all, the public defender will represent you at your next court date. You may or may not have the opportunity to meet him/her before that time. Hopefully, you can schedule an appointment with your public defender to discuss your case, your options, and your best defense strategy.
At any point, if you want to hire an attorney or consult with a private attorney, you can do that. Most attorneys in the area offer free consultations. As mentioned, a private attorney will likely have more time to devote to your case.
If this is a first time offense, you may be able to keep your record clean. There are a couple of options to explore. An attorney who is aware of all the facts and circumstances of your case will help you do this.
As you probably already know, the worst part about a criminal conviction can be the collateral consequences of that conviction. For example, it may be harder to secure a job, an apartment, or take advantage of opportunities that will come your way.