If you do not hear back from the PD at this point, you may not hear back from him or her by telephone. At this point, you may want to consider hiring a private attorney to represent you on this matter. If your case is a misdemeanor, a privately retained attorney could make the court appearance without your presence. "Preliminary hearings" are generally for Felonies though. The first hearing for a misdemeanor is called the "arraignment". Are you charged with a misdemeanor or a felony? Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss your case in more detail.
My colleague and friend, Mr. Hache is correct. You need the assistance of an attorney. The Public Defender may never return your call as they are over-loaded. A private attorney can appear for you without your having to attend court. Call if you have any questions.
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I think you got confused with what your first court date was. That is called an arraignment. Preliminary hearings are only reserved for felonies, not misdemeanors. It also seems correct in that one public defender handles the arraignment and then you are assigned another deputy public defender. Some public defender offices do not appear for clients via California Penal Code 977. That means the lawyer can appear for you without you being present, but you have to get the lawyer's consent to do that first. You may want to call the public defender's supervisor to see if you can get a response. The public defenders are generally overwhelmed. You will have some good public defenders. I hope they can appear for you and continue or delay your case. I understand you don't have funds for an attorney. Try contacting the supervisor since this is an important matter. You don't want a warrant out for your arrest.
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