First and foremost, you should look for someone with extensive experience. There are many criminal defense attorneys who have that.  What other characteristics are important?  Trials!  How many trials have they had? Trials take time, stamina, and courage; presentation and persuasion skills are paramount.  How good of a communicator is the lawyer?  When you ask him/her questions, do you receive clear and direct responses?  What about eye contact?  Do you feel like you have the lawyers full attention and dedication?  Remember: In criminal trials, a jury decides guilt or innocence and judges decide questions of law.  If the lawyer cannot command YOUR attention, how do you think he/she is going to command the judge’s or jury’s attention? Finally, does the attorney have the time and dedication to vigorously represent you at trial or, in an effort to “turn” the case (much like a waiter in a busy restaurant who wants to make as many tips as possible), will the lawyer begin to persuade you to negotiate a guilty plea to bring the case to an end?