To give an opinion about the ultimate result of a criminal case would require a complete review of the case. That cannot be done on Avvo.
However, because a person cannot typically get the public defender without being financially unable to afford to hire a lawyer, the question you ask has no practical impact on the situation. If the defendant cannot afford a lawyer and wants a lawyer, the court will appoint a lawyer. If there is a public defender's office in the community, the appointment will typically go to the public defender's office.
Answers on Avvo are for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. No attorney / client relationship is created by providing this answer. For specific advice about your situation, you should consult a competent attorney of your choosing.
As was stated in another answer, theft of property valued at $500.00 does not normally constitute a felony. I speculate that the charge is enhanced because of a prior conviction. Most public defenders are hard working and do a good job. However, if you are able to employ a criminal defense lawyer of your own choosing you ate likely to be more satisfied. It is very important that you keep a felony conviction off of your record. It can ruin your future! Even a misdemeanor theft conviction will damage your future .Hire a good lawyer and follow his or her advice. Even if you have to borrow the money or sell something. It will be worth it.
Advice given by me in this space is for educational purposes only. Advice given by this attorney constitutes legal advice only if a contract is first signed by this attorney and the client/questioner and a fee is paid to this attorney for such advice.