What does it mean to be a certified Criminal Law Specialist?

The California State Bar, Board of Legal Specialization, which is the licensing authority for attorneys in California, is responsible for maintaining a program of certification of specialists in eight specialized disciplines of the law, including criminal law. Attorneys in California are not permitted to hold themselves out as a "specialist" in these disciplines without being certified.

How does an attorney qualify as a Specialist in Criminal Law?

To become a certified specialist in criminal law, an attorney must practice law in the discipline for at least five years before becoming eligible for consideration. Then, the attorney must demonstrate practice proficiency by having engaged in a required number of trials, preliminary hearings and motions; they must undergo a rigorous peer review by other members of the bar and the judiciary; complete a requisite number of specialized, state bar approved, educational units; and finally, take and pass a specialist's examination administered by the state bar. Once certified, the specialist in criminal law must be recertified by the state bar every five years.

What does certification mean to a person accused of a crime?

The State Bar program of certification is intended to protect the public from unfounded claims by an attorney of competency in a specialized field, to help the public identify attorneys who have demonstrated proficiency in a specialized field of law, and to encourage the maintenance and improvement of attorney competence in specialized fields of law.

Is consulting a specialist in criminal law like consulting a specialist in medicine?

A person accused of committing a crime is at risk for the loss of life, liberty, property and reputation. The risk to an individual afflicted with a serious illness is much the same. Just as a critically ill person would seek out the competence of a specialist in medicine, an individual accused of a crime and threatened with the loss of life or liberty should do the same.

Is there an experienced, criminal law specialist available nearby?

Timothy B. Rien-a former prosecutor, judge pro tem and educator at the college level and police academies-has been certified as a Specialist in Criminal Law by the California State Bar, Board of Legal Specialization since 1983, and recertified every five years since. In over 40 years of practice, Mr. Rien has handled virtually every type of criminal case, from driving under the influence of alcohol and drug offenses to white collar crimes and capital murder, all with specialized skill.

Being accused of committing a crime-rightly or wrongly-can be a life-altering experience.

For compassionate and specialized help, call Rien, Adams & Cox, LLP for a free initial consultation. No ethical attorney can predict or guarantee the outcome of any particular case. But see how hiring a Certified Criminal Law Specialist can make a difference in shaping the outcome of your case.

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