1) Comfort Level with the Attorney. Meeting with the attorney and speaking with him/her is key. Don't be sucked in by speaking to a "senior partner" or an other attorney that may send a young associate to handle your case. The one on one connection with the person handling the case is key.
Choose an attorney that handles Criminal Defense exclusively
2) Exclusively Criminal. You wouldn't trust your heart surgery to a doctor who spends half his time doing cosmetic surgery and liposuction. Don't trust your freedom to an attorney who handles family law, immigration, pet law and criminal law. Criminal defense is a highly specialized and ever changing field and no attorney who tries to dabble in everything will excell in any one field.
3)Choose Local. Don't bring someone from the westside or downtown to Norwalk or Whittier to handle your case. They don't come here regularly and don't know the court, the judges and the prosecutors. They will feel like a fish out of water and you are going to be the one that pays the price.