Call Jim Swisher in Greensboro. Your ultimate goal is to preserve your record and you need to get a deferred prosecution. A PJC stays on your record. Most district courts will give you a six or twelve month deferred prosecution where the state will take a dismissal based on successful completion of certain conditions.
A PJC on a charge/conviction such as open container still counts as an admission and also counts towards future sentencing points. Despite public perception, a PJC is mostly more of a band aid than a cure. Get an attorney.
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Many folks are told to ask for a PJC by "friends" who have just heard the term. You need to know that a PJC is still a conviction! As Mr. McGee explained, the best thing to do is to try and go through a deferred prosecution, in which the case would be dismissed. If you do decide to ask for a PJC, to answer your question, yes you would still have to pay for court costs and they are typically due the day of court.
As to whether or not you would be eligible for a public defender, my guess is that you have already signed a waiver stating you did not want the court to appoint you counsel so you may be required to hire your own attorney prior to the court date. Dont wait!
Call Trial Attorney Dustin RT Sullivan at (910) 508-2200 or visit us at www.sullivansnowlaw.com to find out more.