There are no options available to private counsel that are not also available to appointed counsel. Therefore, if a resolution is possible that will keep the conviction off of your record, appointed counsel would have the same ability to attain such a resolution. Just make it clear at each appearance what you are looking for and be prepared for some difficulties in the area of maintaining communication due to their heavy caseload.
I don't practice in AR, but I assume from the limited post that you are charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana. I further assume this is a misdemeanor under state law. If it is a felony charge that command more respect. I'd advise you to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney in your are to represent you. Drug convictions are serious matters that will affect your future. There may be options available in your area (diversion, drug classes, etc.) that need to be explored to avoid a conviction. Get counsel.
I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..
I agree with both answers you have already received. Having counsel is essential to maximize the opportunity to get a result that minimizes or eliminates the potential future negative consequences for further education and employment/licensing. While both private and public counsel have the same options open to them to pursue, the better course is qualified criminal defense counsel selected by you after interviewing two or more. Good luck.
Another consideration: if you have a misdemeanor drug conviction, it can cause you to lose any federal student aid you may receive in grants, scholarships, etc. So it is well worth you hitting this head on with all you've got. Normally, I'd say that with the giant case load the PDs have, it might be better to hire private counsel. That being said, there are some really excellent public defenders in Fayetteville. I'm not sure who handles district court misdemeanors, but the circuit court PDs are fabulous, so I would imagine they have someone good at the district court level too. If you have no priors, you may be able to get it either diverted (like someone else mentioned) or plead it down to something like misdemeanor possession of an instrument of crime, which is not a drug-related offense.
No attorney-client relationship is established with this answer. It is not to be considered legal advice, but is merely given to point you in the right direction and give you a general answer as to the law regarding the question you have asked.