Being charged with a crime is an extremely stigmatizing event. Many times, mistakes are made, and innocent people are charged. Even if you have some culpability, an attorney can help make sure your rights are protected, and that you are dealt with fairly. An attorney can help from the moment you realize you are in trouble. An attorney can help secure your release from jail during the duration of your case. In felony cases, an attorney should represent you at a preliminary hearing, to make sure the state has probable cause to charge you with the alleged crime.
You should make sure that the attorney you have retained has trial experience, and is willing and capable of having the matter tried before a jury. If the District Attorney does not provide a fair offer, a jury trial may be the only way to clear your name. Trial experience could mean the difference between going home, or going to jail.