What does it mean to be Board Certified in Criminal Defense by the Texas State Bar?
In a word, it means an attorney is credentialed. The Supreme Court of Texas created the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in order to recognize levels of expertise in certain areas of the law.
The Board, whose members are appointed by the President of the Texas State Bar, administers the certification program. If you want more information about the Board, you can call 800-204-2222 or 512-463-1454.
Requirements of Certification
An attorney must do the following to get the certification:
• Demonstrate detailed knowledge of Texas and federal constitutional law as well as penal laws and evidence and procedural rules • Have practiced law for 5+ years • Have practiced criminal law, specifically, for 3+ years • Have handled an array of criminal cases • Pass a rigorous examination given by judges and other lawyers • Successfully complete a full day written exam • Keep up with continuing education by attending seminars
How long does the certification last?
The first time an attorney is certified, it is valid for five years. But each attorney must reapply to be re-certified every five years. This means maintaining educational requirements, practicing law, and passing rigorous peer review from other lawyers and judges.
How can you tell whether an attorney has been Board Certified to practice Criminal Law in Texas?
Only attorneys who have gone through the rigorous training and testing are allowed to advertise that they have been Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Can a non-Board Certified lawyer handle your case?
Of course. However, given the stakes you face – and the potential punishments you might endure if you are convicted, which can include jail time, huge fines, strict probation terms, and a loss of other privileges – it generally behooves a defendant to work with someone who has demonstrated proficiency in Texas criminal law and procedure. A credentialed attorney who understands the law both in theory and in practice — and who has won the approval not just of judges but also of his or legal peers — will generally be more capable of developing an intuitive, innovative defense for you.