If you are charged with a criminal offense you have a right to be represented by an attorney the Court/Judge must inform you of the right to counsel and whether you want to proceed with or without an attorney.
Since there is a potential for jail time on all criminal offenses, it is recommended that a person charged with a crime always have an attorney. This is especially true for first offenders who should be informed of several programs available to avoid having a conviction on your record.
More and more employees are doing background checks and discover even minor offenses which could prevent a person from being hired. For example, while some traffic offenses may seem minor, there are many that are misdemeanors that have an impact on your record.