Criminal defense cases cover both criminal suits — charges brought by the government to punish an individual for an act classified as a crime — and civil suits — claims brought by individuals or organizations as a dispute over rights and duties.
I have been seeing this question a lot lately. Probably the best answer is choose someone you trust and are comfortable with. Of course you want to look for a lawyer that has experience and is familiar both with the courthouse and your specific type of case. But once you narrow the field, the best idea is to meet with prospective attorneys and decide which one you will be most comfortable with. Beside the outcome, try to think of what will be most important to you during the pendency of your case (i.e. promptly returning phone calls, face-to-face time, demeanor, price, etc.). Then ask the criminal lawyers you meet with questions based on the criteria you have developed. Again, the bottom line is that when you are facing prosecution on criminal charges you will be nervous enough as is. You need to be able to trust your attorney and feel comfortable that he or she is doing their best to represent your interests.