A certified criminal law specialist is more than just a criminal lawyer who specializes in criminal defense.

The California State Bar, Board of Legal Specialization, 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 criminal law “specialist” without being certified.

How does a criminal defense attorney qualify as a Specialist in Criminal Law?

To become a certified specialist in criminal law, a criminal defense attorney must practice criminal law for at least five years before becoming eligible for consideration. They also 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 re-certified by the state bar every five years.

What does being a criminal law specialist  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.

When should you call a criminal law specialist?

You should call a criminal lawyer when you have been accused of a crime. 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 expertise 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 a specialized skill.

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

For compassionate and specialized help, give us a call for a free initial consultation. No ethical attorney can predict or guarantee the outcome of any particular case but seeing how hiring a Certified Criminal Law Specialist can make a difference in shaping the outcome of your case is crucial if you have been accused of a crime.

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