The first time you face criminal charges can be a harrowing experience. Not only do you have to go through the arrest process and bonding out of jail, but you also have to figure out how to defend yourself against the charges.

You will need an attorney as it is a right you have under the U.S. Constitution. Since you have never had to secure the services of a legal professional before, you may not know where to begin. Forbes explains that it is helpful to avoid making the process stressful.

Check practice area

You need an attorney that practices criminal defense law. The attorneys who handled your car accident case or created your prenuptial agreement may not be the best choice if they do not also have experience in criminal cases. Some attorneys may practice multiple areas of law, so always check to be sure what areas those are prior to contacting an attorney.

Get referrals

You should start asking others who they would recommend. Word of mouth is the best way to find an attorney because you can learn a lot about him or her through this process. You will get honest opinions on how well the lawyer does his or her job. You may also get advice about paying for services and potential ideas on what representation may cost.

Choose two

While you only need to work with one lawyer, you should always have a second on in mind. Attorneys in criminal defense often have busy caseloads, and the attorney you choose may not have the time to devote to your case. Having a backup option will help you to keep things moving and prevent you from having to go through all the research again.