Yes absolutely - an attorney is a skilled professional who knows the law and the various sentencing options, assuming the DA proves his guilt (being caught "red handed" doesn't necessarily mean anything). Get him an attorney asap.
There is always a chance - pds are, after all, highly experienced criminal attorneys. Get one or hire one-you defiantly need it. Don't forget to requet your aps hearing within 10 days of your arrest. Note-a pd can't help you with DMV. Just a consideration.
Generally, speedy trial rights are individual rights of an accused. However, there are certain very fact specific circumstances where a trial can be continued over a defendant's objection and beyond the speedy trial period. It sounds like this situation might be one of those. Contact the attorney and ask him. If nothing else, you may have an appellate issue later.
They are correct. There is no "expungement" in California. The best you can do (assuming a conviction) is get a post conviction dismissal. Your arrest and conviction will still appear, but with a notation saying they've been dismissed. You can petition for factual innocence, however it's a very tough standard to prove and almost never works. Unlike Juvenlie cases, there are no other options (that I'm aware of - please AVVO attorneys feel free to comment if I am incorrect here). Of course,...
I agree with my collegues. Why plead? There are a multitude of options you don't know about that an experienced attorney does. Get advice before you plea. If you can't afford an attorney, get the public defender to help you.
Most likely nothing. If the police weren't called, the criminal justice system hasn't activated. I have never seen or heard of anyone getting in trouble later for not paying the civil demand. What the consequences are for your visa I don't know. But criminally, you can safely ignore it.
No you do not. The civil demand is a ploy by big companies and an out of state law firm to get money. Were the police called? If not the criminal justice system hasn't gotten involved yet (Macy's LPO's don't count) so all that is is a civil demand. I have yet to see anyone taken to court over it, and it does not go on your record. The worst that will happen is you will get more annoying letters.