When a person is charged with a crime or crimes and they are sure they did not commit them in the way the prosecution argues, it may be tempting to represent one's own interests in court. But one of the best reasons to be sure an attorney is part of your criminal defense is an awareness of the legal landscape and how precedents can change the effects of laws.
The right to criminal defense is one of the basic concepts of common law, which formed the basis of the American justice system. Governments are obliged to provide all people accused of crimes with an attorney. Due to budgets and workloads, however, the best possible legal defense may not be guaranteed.
People facing criminal charges have a lot to deal with, and the level of government that levied charges against them is probably not one of their biggest considerations. However, the difference between federal and state criminal charges is far larger than the juries or judges who try to deliver justice.