I was a Public Defender. I was in court all day. On the rare occasions I wasn't in court, I was visiting clients in jail or prepping cases for trial. PDs have to prioritize and unfortunately, with their overloaded schedules, returning phone calls can get pushed to the bottom of the list.
It is unclear at which stage of the proceedings you are. Have you completed the community service and had the charges dismissed? If so, then your RAP sheet will show that charges were brought and later dismissed. If, however, the case has not yet been dismissed (which would likely be the case if you haven't completed the community service yet), then your RAP sheet will show that charges are pending. You may want to order a copy of your RAP sheet to see what is currently on there.
There is some relief, but it by no means a "slam dunk". The only way to get relief from a 290 registration requirement is get a certificate of rehabilitation granted. A couple of years ago I was able to get one granted here in Orange County- that was one of only a handful ever granted in this county. There is a waiting period, a residency requirement and your record must generally be clean. I like to have my clients get a psychological evaluation and provide all the therapy records and progress...
At a minimum, you are entitled to proof of the lost wages. Call the Victim Witness office and the court and ask them what proof of lost wages is being provided. If it looks legitimate (like a verifiable lapse in employment for 6-8 weeks because of injuries), then you may be better off paying. If they can't produce anything, I'd contest it. You are entitled, by law, to a restitution hearing where they have to produce proof of their damages.
You must call the DMV within 10 days of the arrest to schedule a hearing or you lose that right. You may have other defenses available to you, given the facts that you present. Please call me at 949-477-8088 to discuss.
There is no guarantee, but typically when an underlying charge is dismissed, the probation violation goes away as well. Is it possible that there are other reasons for a probation violation? Email me his name and birthdate at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see what information I can find for you.
The concept of "pressing charges" is a myth. Prosecutors will file charges if they believe that there is sufficient evidence for a prosecution. It is possible that something can be done to stop this from progressing further. Please give my office a call tomorrow and we can discuss it in detail: 949-477-8088.