A plea of Not Guilty can be changed at any time prior to the jury making a decision at trial. It is also the first step in defending your case.
So, it's good you started with not guilty. That gives you options.
First, you need an attorney. If you are unable to hire an attorney, contact the court and ask for one to be appointed. They will require that you answer some questions about your income. Be truthful. As you now know, if you are untruthful or misleading on an application involving your income, you can be charged with a crime.
Food Stamp cases typically involve some misunderstanding of the applicant's household income or some perceived falsification of information upon which they base your need for assistance.
Their formulas are complicated and you'll want help figuring out exactly how much you owe, and whether or not it is fair to hold you responsible for the State giving you more money than they calculated you need.
No, you have not lost your opportunity to plea bargain. In fact, most people plead not guilty or have a not guilty plea entered for them at their arraignment appearance.
You need to hire a lawyer to represent you though. You should also be saving to repay that amount that was taken fraudulently (if it was) so that it can be offered "up front". Many times, you can get a better plea bargain agreement if you are able to make restitution before beginning the probation (including some times working the case out for a misdemeanor instead of a felony.)
No. Just the opposite. You need to immediately if not sooner retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to explain the process and to work on raising your defenses. Please, for your own sake, do not post any additional facts on any online site, and instead retain a criminal defense attorney. Under the Constitution you have an absolute right to enter a not guilty plea and in fact the prosecutor and the court largely expext you to do so. Based on what you have posted, you can not afford NOT to retain a criminal defense attorney ASAP.
I truly wish you the best.
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This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice in which your concern lies. In the event that you have follow up questions, please post them directly on this site. This does not create an attorney-client relationship and the attorney does not read unsolicited emails. Thank You.