You are not required to have a lawyer for almost anything you can do at the particular courthouse you have to report to. In most actions, especially those involving traffic citations, a person can show up and represent themselves. Even in slightly more serious matters the Court will grant a pro se litigant (person that is representing themselves) a certain amount of leeway for not knowing the rules of the court and how to apply them to the case.
However, as with all things you must ask yourself, do I really know what I am doing and should I have an expert help me with this. As a business owner I have always worked hard to try and not pay someone else for something that I could figure out myself. The trick is to know when you need an expert. Representing yourself in court is kind of like attempting to play a sport for the first time. You can look up the rules, you can think up the things that will possibly work but you have still never played the game before. Furthermore, if you want to play the game at any level other than recreational leagues you absolutely need to have a coach to help you get the fundamentals down.
I use this analogy to illustrate this point. Attorneys are here to act as coaches when it comes to a traffic violation or any other case. The desired outcome is chosen by you, the client, but the means to that end are chosen by the Attorney. The good attorney acts as a coach to help guide you away from pitfalls from the beginning. Furthermore, the Attorney may be able to give you more options than you thought were available to you. Many Attorneys will give you a free consultation so that they can make a judgment call as to if you even need an attorney or if your case has merit to be taken to court. Just finding one that will do this for you can give you great insight into whether or not you need to have representation.
As an attorney in NC, I know that we are trained to know the rules and how to most efficiently and effectively help the client. There is no way that every case, that you ask an attorney to help you with, will be dismissed. However, just like you would help yourself by getting a coach to help you play cricket for the first time, an attorney can help get you the information that you need to know before going into court and, if you decide for representation, help you make the strongest case that you can in court.