They are pretty serious charges, but as a first offense it is possible he could avoid jail time and possibly get the charges reduced. And yes, probation and community service are a possibility. As far as attorney is concerned, public defenders are criminal defense attorneys that choose to defend folks without a lot of money, and make not a lot of money in return. There are public defenders who are as skilled as any private defense attorney, as there are private defense attorneys who are incompetent. Having said that, public defenders often have huge case loads that make it difficult for them to devote the time they'd like to every case. The individual involved should meet with his public defender and make a decision based his impression. He may also wish to meet with private counsel in order to make an informed decision. Most attorneys have free initial consultations--and if they don't, don't bother.