The best step toward protecting your rights is to seek competent legal advice from a Criminal Defense Lawyer with a verifiable track-record of success dealing with similar crimes as yours: no matter how minor of a crime you are charged with. Consulting with a lawyer does not mean you have to hire the lawyer! For instance, you could contact a capable criminal defense lawyer to evaluate the charges against you and the list of possible defenses at your disposal. This will give you an opportunity to appreciate the nature of the charge against you and potential consequences. If the crime charged is serious, then you should hire an experienced and ethical Criminal Defense Lawyer to represent you.