You might be able to make that switch. However, you should contact an attorney in your area and see what other options are available. Many of the attorneys here on Avvo provide a free consultation.
Possibly. I suggest getting your case on calendar ASAP and explaining your situation to the judge. The public defender might be able to help. Don't delay - the longer you wait, the less likely the judge is to be agreeable. Good luck.
Perhaps you can go back to the public defender and see if they can assist you in your matter. They can put your matter on calendar and ask for the alternatives.