You definitely do not want to go through this process without the advice and assistance of counsel. And whether it by an attorney that you have retained on your own, or by a public defender, if you qualify, based upon your low income, you definitely want an attorney representing you. To many individuals look back on trying what you are suggesting, and in retrospect, wish they had been represented. Don't find out after it is too late.
It is possible that you will get the same results with or without a lawyer- but there is no way you can know that in for sure. What you can be sure of, is that if you are represented by an experienced attorney, you will get the best outcome possible.
An attorney can secure a better plea bargain for you, as well as evaluate whether you are eligible for relief that can largely mitigate the criminal charges, such as adjournments in contemplation of dismissal, youthful offender treatment, drug court diversion, sealing your records, certificates of relief from legal disabilities, etc. etc. It's probably well worth the costs, since the "collateral consequences" of a criminal conviction on later employment and civil rights can often exceed the criminal convictions and penalties themselves.
I guess the obvious theoretical answer is Yes. The logical and prudent course of action would entail hiring counsel to assist you. I assume you're young and you tell us you are in college. Don't no what you're plans are after graduation, but I would venture to say that you don't want this on your record. Graduate schools and employers will check your criminal history. Landlords and any business deciding whether to extend credit to you will check your criminal history. Make sure you do everything possible to protect your clean record; get a lawyer experienced in drug defense.
If you are worried about the cost of an attorney, try to get a Public Defender. They usually have great relationships with the S.A.'s and can likely get you the best result for a fraction of a private attorney. If cost is not an issue, retain counsel. It's always good to have a person well versed in the law when facing serious charges. This is M1 punishable up to a year in jail, why risk it. Plus, you need to prepare for a few things going in, like the 2 year suspension of your DL which will result if you plea. Etc. Etc.
Depends on the how bad you want it off your record or how it can affect your future. You may be eligible for program which after completed would expunge or seal the records and if available I'd say no.
You should at least consult with an attorney. Most consultations are free. An attorney can not only deal with the criminal charges, but handle the sealing or expunction of your records, as well. If you qualify for a public defender, then that is a practically a free attorney to give you legal advice. No reason to turn that down.
You are asking the question so you already have a doubt about representing yourself. Of course, there may be an easy resolution for such a charge, but you need to think through the possible consequences. I have a client who "just wanted to get it over" with a case such as this. His lawyer did not tell him that this conviction, even with a whthold of adjudication ciould aggravate a sentence 25 years down the road. It could even come up when you are trying to get licensed in a profession. Can you imagine having to fight with the Bar to the tune of $25,000 when they question this possession. They are not of the same generation as you, hence you do not look at things with the same point of view. Yes, you need a lawyer, and one who will really counsel you .
of course, you and i are not forming an attorney client relationship. Representation in Florida Courts and Federal courts nationwide. Argued at the United States Supreme Court,