Public Defender is probably what you need. I moved your question over to the criminal law section. Hopefully someone can give better advice there.
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You need to hire a defense attorney. Most offer free consultations. I would start making calls to get an idea of fees and payment plans. These cases can sometimes be dismissed or reduced if the checks can be paid off in full. An experienced attorney will know how to handle this and keep it off your record.
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These are very common charges, and I handle them often. In Travis County, as long as you don't have a huge history of theft, these cases can usually be dismissed by paying the amount of the hot check to the Travis County Hot Check Division and taking a Hot Check Class. I would advise that you hire an attorney to handle this for you so it gets done properly. I you can get it dismissed, then you will be able to permanently expunge it from your record.
I have been an Austin criminal defense attorney for 20 years. If its a first offense, the county attorney's office will dismiss with restitution and the 8 hour theft by check class. Once the case is dismissed you should hire an attorney to get it expunged.
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