While no one wants to find themselves in the need of a criminal attorney, should that time come the most competent attorneys will follow you through the entire judicial process and will not simply encourage you to enter into a plea once the fees have been paid. Criminal representation is about more than just showing up in a courtroom and pleading guilty or not guilty. The attorney must have a clear knowledge of the case, a strong sense of attachment to the community and needs to be on your side.
Begin your search for an attorney as soon as possible. Referrals and the internet are valuable sources of information. It may take several days or weeks for you to come across the right lawyer and weeding out the ones without the experience or capacity to provide you with an effective defense is necessary.
Meet with a potential defense attorney in person. If you meet your lawyer face to face before beginning the investigation process, you can gage your comfort with this person or legal team.
Work with an attorney that has trial experience. If your attorney works solely out of court, you may have a problem. There is no substitute for an attorney with trial experience and, without this invaluable ability, you may come to face serious penalties from the criminal system.
When interviewing prospective attorneys, you should ask the amount of time spent behind the practice of criminal defense and check to see if the attorney has been certified as a Criminal Law Specialist by the State Bar of Arizona.
What Is a Certified Specialist?
Arizona allows attorneys who have proven experience in a particular area of law to achieve the status of specialist.
A member must meet the following minimum standards for specialization:
- Admission to the practice of law for 5 years (7 for Criminal Law)
- Admission to the State Bar of Arizona for 2 years immediately preceding submission of the application
- Devotion of at least 50% of a full-time practice to the specialty area
- Substantial involvement in the certification area for 4 of the 6 years immediately preceding submission of the application
Additionally, peer review is conducted and a written examination must be passed.
Remember that no lawyer can promise a positive outcome in any criminal case. Be wary of anyone who guarantees a positive verdict or favorable plea bargain.
The Law Office of Craig W. Penrod has been involved in criminal and DUI defense for more than 25 years. Craig is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, is AV® rated, the highest rating by Martindale Hubbell®, is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®, and has been selected for inclusion in Southwest Super Lawyers™ Editions 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Contact the lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod for a free initial legal consultation if you find yourself facing DUI or criminal charges.