If you’re the defendant in a criminal case, the best thing you can do for yourself is choose the most reputable criminal defense lawyers possible. And while we all know that the Sixth Amendment provides criminal defendants with the right to legal representation, the right to a speedy trial, and the right to confront witnesses, finding the best possible criminal defense attorney takes a little more expertise than simply reading the Constitution. While you search for the right criminal defense attorneys for you, here are some essential dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

DO: Strongly consider experience
Experience is one of the most important qualities for a criminal defense attorney to possess. Even if they stayed at the top of their class throughout law school and are more passionate than any lawyer you’ve ever seen, they won’t be able to handle your case unless they’ve handled countless others like it. You wouldn’t trust a heart surgeon to operate on you without having substantial experience, and the same principle applies with criminal defense lawyers. Real life experience is absolutely critical.

DON’T: Forget to check references
Another imperative part of your criminal defense attorney search is making sure to check references. Any confident and established criminal defense lawyer will be happy to give you a list of satisfied clients they’ve personally helped. Better yet, ask your friends and family for suggestions if you feel comfortable doing so. The most professional criminal defense attorneys should always come with a recommendation.

DO: Compare fees
Obviously, comparing lawyer fees is an important part of the research process. While you do want to work with the most professional lawyer you can afford, it’s critical to not let money cloud your judgment. Again, your criminal defense attorney is there to argue your case to the absolute best of their ability, and the fact is some can simply do it better than others. Don’t assume that the most expensive lawyer is automatically going to provide the best service, and don’t assume that the more affordable lawyers are always less qualified.

DON’T: Ignore your gut instinct
More often than not, your gut can tell you whether or not a lawyer will truly do what they say they are able to do. If that gut instinct tells you that one criminal lawyer will be better or worse than another, listen to it.

Ultimately, these are just a few important dos and don’ts to consider when selecting a criminal defense attorney to represent you. Keep an eye out for the next post, where we’ll discuss even more tips for finding the best attorney possible.