It's best to have a skilled attorney guide you through the criminal justice process. In the words of the United States Supreme Court: "Lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries." (Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) 372 U.S. 335, at 345.) Having an attorney is so important that, if you're accused of a crime and can't afford to hire a private attorney, the court will appoint a Public Defender attorney to represent you. A criminal conviction can result in jail, prison, fines, or fees. Additionally, a criminal conviction can affect a person's immigration situation, employment opportunities, voting rights, firearm rights, access to student loans, public housing, and ability to get a professional license. There is often a lot at stake when you're accused of a crime. Talking to an attorney is the responsible thing to do.