Usually not. However, there is a Penal Code Section that allows its admissability IF the DA and defense attorney agree to its admission and the judge is told ahead of time so he can craft an appropriate jury instruction.
Your brother needs good legal representation and quickly. You stated that in addition to the serious felony charges he is facing, he is on probation and has a joint suspension. That means that they could dismiss the current charges, violate his probation and send him off to prison if they so chose. Best thing to do is consult with one or two criminal defense attorneys. Many offer free consultations or charge a minimal amount. You would get some general information and have a better idea on...
Pro bono attorneys are called the public defenders, although they are in fact paid by the county and really don't work for free. No private attorney who has bills to pay and a family to feed can afford to take pro bono cases And if I'm not being paid, why would I work hard on the case to the detriment of my paying clients? And really, would you ask your doctor, dentist, auto mechanic or barber to work free?
Hard to say as each DA's office handles these types of cases differently, but minor injuries would suggest a misdemeanor. Be proactive and contact a local criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Most attorneys offers free consultations, but make sure you get one who knows the Santa Clara DA's office and their policies. Do not hire the first one you meet with, but check out several attorneys so you can get an idea of prices. And make sure you meet with the attorney, not some paralegal...
You really need to talk to a licensing attorney as well as a criminal defense attorney regoarding your license. Christine McCall posts on this site and was a former adminstrative law judge. She handles licensing issues and is ver knowledgable. Although she is in Padadena, you should give her office a call.
This is too serious of a matter to go to trial with an attorney you don't have confidence in. I don't know what went wrong with your attorney or how things went off the rails, but you need new counsel. Call other attorneys in Placerville and especially Sacramento where ther are much greater selection of attorneys.
May be reversible error but judge is not required to allow a substitition of counsel if it would delay trial. I understand you just obtained funds, but DA can object. Court might refuse substitution, especially if the case is old.