Ok, court appointed may be good, bad, or average. The odds are not in your favor. It's your job to contact your attorney well before trial, but make sure you don't get railroaded. You have an absolute right to a whole, new trial with a jury in the Circuit Court if you're found guilty in the General District Court, so don't let anyone tell you that you have to accept a plea bargain. Make sure your lawyer knows early on that you intend to plead not guilty and you want him to be prepared to go to trial. If you're found guilty by the GDC Judge (by the way, a magistrate in Virginia is not a "judge", and is not even required to be an attorney), then call me.