I would err on the side of caution and use a criminal lawyer. If you're worried about the cost, then you could try Legal Aid.
Some of the advantages of having a lawyer are:
a) Criminal law can be complex and a criminal lawyer can explain it to you in plain English and ensure that the prosecution and the court apply the law correctly.
b) Using a lawyer will reduce your stress of having to prepare, deal with court procedures and speak in front of a Magistrate or Judge, and its more convenient than representing yourself.
c) If you plead guilty to an offence, then you'll be sentenced by the court. A lawyer might be able to reduce your penalty or get the charge dropped altogether. Going to the effort of engaging a lawyer also shows that you're taking your matter seriously.
The only disadvantage I can think of with engaging a criminal lawyer that I can think of is that it costs money. Ultimately, the decision is yours, but given what may be at stake, in terms of a penalty/sentence imposed on you, the advantages likely outweigh the cost. You can get an estimate of costs upfront so you know what you might be in for.
A good criminal lawyer will be able to advise you whether you should be pleading guilty to your charge at all. They will present you in a positive light and use their knowledge of sentencing laws to get you the best possible outcome. Legal Aid is there to assist people who can't afford a lawyer and are experiencing disadvantage.
HI, the context is what a good solicitor can present to the court, the quality of the effort put in by your rep, can make the difference between jail time or suspended sentence, exaggerated example, yes you beat him up!, but for 3 weeks before hand he was calling you names, spitting on you, hassling your wife, scratched or keyed your car, then you can also bring in diminished responsibility, exagerated example i was under the influence of drugs etc, then you can also bring in ethnic background, etc etc etc. pleading guilty brings good cheer from the court and is often rewarded with reduced penalty, how how early you plead has a good influence percentage wise with the court. if you dont want the hassle or cost, you can represent yourself, but i would strongly recomend writing it down and just hand up a copy to the judge, the prosecutor, it is easy to forget things in a court room surrounding. cheers best wishes