Criminal charges may be filed against you by the police or the Public Prosecutor. Thereafter, you will have two choices before you-to admit to the charges and plead guilty or to dispute the charges and claim trial. You can also seek time from the judge to seek a lawyer for legal advice or for legal representation.
If you choose to plead guilty, you will be convicted. However, the sentence passed may be more lenient if the judge takes into account that you have pleaded guilty. During a plead guilty hearing, you will also be able to give your mitigation plea to highlight to the court certain mitigating or extenuating factors that can assist you in receiving a lower sentence. It is highly recommended that you seek legal representation so that your counsel can help you pick out exceptional mitigating factors and circumstances.
If you claim trial, you can represent yourself pro se or you can get a lawyer to represent you in your defence which would be much more favourable as a criminal law specialist would have the necessary experience and expertise to help you further your case. Furthermore, your lawyer will also have the relevant knowledge for various court processes which includes various aspects including the tendering of submissions or evidence in a proper manner, the technicalities of trial and even basic court etiquette.