If you’re on the hunt for a DWI attorney and keep seeing lawyers call attention to their board certifications, you’re likely wondering what the heck a board certified lawyer is. You may even be asking, “Will board certifications for DWI do anything to help me or my loved one in this uncertain time?” There are very few board certified lawyers for DWI in Texas, and we’re here to tell you that hiring a lawyer who is board certified is a very good thing.
What’s better than one board certification? Four. Mark Thiessen is quadruple board certified in DWI. In fact, Mark is the only lawyer in America who is quadruple board certified in the following categories:
- Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
- DUI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense as approved through the American Bar Association
- DUI Law by the DUI Defense Lawyers Association
- Board Certified Advocate in Criminal Trial Law by the NBTA Foundation
What does board certified mean for a lawyer in Texas? And how does it help your case? That’s precisely what the winning Texas DWI lawyers at Thiessen Law Firm are here to explain.
Why hire a board certified lawyer?
Before we get into what exactly a board certified lawyer is and what board certified lawyers in Texas have to do to become one, we should discuss why it is so important. After all, why do you care if an attorney has this accreditation?
You should care because there are a lot of attorneys out there who are capable, friendly, and paying money to advertise their services to people like you in need of a lawyer. Within this sea of attorneys, your job is to find the one that is right for your case, the one who will get you the best possible outcome, and the one who will allow you to move forward with your life.
How do you do that? Do you pick the one that bought the biggest billboard? The one that has the biggest budget for paid advertisements? The one you saw first? No.
If you want to hire an attorney who will give you the best shot at winning your case, hiring someone with credentials and a record of success is the only way to go. You can do this by making sure that that attorney is board certified and that they have a history of winning cases just like yours.
Check out some of our Notable Victories to see how we win DWI cases.
What does board certified mean for a lawyer in Texas?
A board certification means that an attorney is the best of the best in their field. In order to call themselves a “specialist” or an “expert” in their area of the law, that attorney must be board certified by the applicable body.
What percentage of Texas attorneys are board certified? According to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, only about 6% of licensed attorneys in Texas are board certified, and even fewer are certified in DWI.
If an attorney is calling themselves a DWI Specialist and doesn’t have a board certification from the National College for DUI Defense, you should continue your search for an actual DWI specialist.
How do lawyers become board certified lawyers in Texas?
Who licenses lawyers in Texas? While lawyers in Texas are licensed by the Texas Supreme Court and must be members of the State Bar of Texas, if they want to be board certified in DWI, they have to turn to the National College for DUI Defense.
All board certified lawyers in Texas must go through rigorous application and evaluation processes before they can be certified by the National College for DUI Defense (or any other area of expertise by another accredited or governing body).
When an attorney applies to become a board certified criminal defense lawyer, the following boxes must be checked:
- They must pay an application fee
- They must provide extensive examples of trial success stories
- They must disclose any history of professional misconduct
- They must be approved by the board of directors
Being approved by the board of directors is the trickiest part of the application process. Before taking the certifying exam, an attorney applying to the board will be evaluated on a few criteria.
Criteria one: substantial involvement in DWI defense law
“Substantial involvement” here means that an attorney must devote at least 50% of their law practice to the area of the law in which they are seeking board certification. This keeps attorneys from attempting to claim that they are an expert in more than one area of the law.
In addition to their practice being dedicated to DWI defense law, in order to satisfy the “substantial involvement” criteria, an attorney must have in the past three years:
- Served as lead defense counsel in at least 15 DWI trials; and
- Served as lead counsel in at least 40 contested matters involving the taking of evidence other than trials (essentially cases that have not gone to trial).
Criteria two: references from peers and judges
In order to become a board certified lawyer, an attorney must have a list of recommendations from three judges and three peers. The added layer of difficulty here is that those three judges and three peers must have witnessed the attorney try a DWI case within the last three years, citing personal knowledge and specific instances of their competency.
That isn’t all. The National College of DUI Defense requires that a list of eight to 12 judges be provided, and they select which to contact for reference. How many lawyers do you think have a list of a dozen judges whom they’ve impressed over the last three years? Not many.
Criteria three: educational acumen
Additionally, all applicants must show that they have regularly pursued education within their chosen specialty. This means that a candidate must have completed a minimum number of hours of DWI defense education courses in the three years prior to submitting their application for board certification.
How many lawyers do you know who have served as lead counsel 55 times in DWI cases, impressed a dozen judges, and taken two or three college semesters (36 class hours equivalent) of DWI education courses — all while managing a caseload — over the last three years? Again, not many, but Mark Thiessen has.
For a case you can’t lose, hire a lawyer with board certifications for DWI
Whether this is your first DWI offense in Texas or you’re facing a felony DWI charge like intoxication manslaughter in Texas, hiring an attorney who is board certified in DWI will give you your best shot at a Not Guilty verdict.
The attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm, led by quadruple-board-certified Super Lawyer Mark Thiessen, have built a reputation for winning DWI cases, making miracles happen for clients in even the toughest positions.
If you or a loved one is facing a DWI charge that you’ve absolutely got to beat, you need to give the winning DWI attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm a call for board certified defense. Call Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online for a case evaluation.