Arizona Bar Criminal Self Report
Rule 54. Grounds for Discipline of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona, Arizona Revised Statutes holds that an attorney licensed in Arizona may be disciplined by the State Bar of Arizona upon the conviction of certain crimes. Rule 54 holds that an attorney shall be disciplined for:
- Conviction of a misdemeanor involving a serious crime
- Conviction of ANY felony
A serious crime is defined as any crime that involves interference with the administration of justice, false swearing, misrepresentation, fraud, willful extortion, misappropriation, theft or moral turpitude. A conspiracy, a solicitation of another or any attempt to commit a serious crime, is considered a serious crime.
The lawyer’s criminal serious crime or felony conviction is treated and processed like any other charge against a lawyer, except that the sole issue to be determined shall be the extent of the discipline to be imposed not whether the attorney should be disciplined at all.
Attorney Duty to Self-Report
Arizona Supreme Court Rule 61 describes the attorney’s duty to self-report certain criminal convictions to the State Bar of Arizona.
A lawyer shall, within twenty (20) days after the entry of judgment of a conviction of a misdemeanor involving a serious crime (as defined above) or of any felony, release records and report the following information to chief bar counsel:
- bar number
- address of record with the state bar,
- current address if different from the address of record;
- the name of the court in which the judgment of conviction was entered;
- the case or file number in which the judgment of conviction was entered; and
- the date the judgment of conviction was entered.
Criminal Conviction of a Felony
A lawyer shall be suspended after the clerk’s receipt of proof of the lawyer’s conviction of a felony under either state or federal law, regardless of post conviction motions or an appeal, unless within ten (10) days of the clerk’s receipt of proof of the conviction the member files with the presiding disciplinary judge a verified motion showing good cause why the suspension should not be entered.
The presiding disciplinary judge may permit the lawyer to present oral argument in support of the lawyer’s motion and shall promptly grant or deny it. If the motion is denied, the lawyer shall be suspended as of the date the motion is denied. If the motion is granted, the lawyer shall not be suspended pending completion of a proceeding based on such conviction.
Serious Crime Misdemeanor Conviction for Attorneys
A lawyer convicted of a serious crime other than a felony may be suspended, upon motion of bar counsel, pending final disposition of a proceeding predicated upon the conviction. Within ten (10) days of bar counsel filing a motion, respondent may file with the presiding disciplinary judge a verified response showing good cause why respondent should not be suspended. The presiding judge may permit respondent to present oral argument in support of the respondent’s response and shall promptly grant or deny the motion. If the motion is granted, the lawyer shall be suspended as of the date of such order.
Reinstatement after a Conviction is Reversed or Vacated
If a lawyer is suspended due to the instances listed above, the lawyer can have their interim suspension vacated if they demonstrate that the underlying conviction has been reversed or vacated. If the lawyer provides proof that the conviction has been reversed or vacated, the order for interim suspension shall be vacated and the lawyer placed on active status.
However, if the interim suspension is vacated is does not mean that any investigation by the Bar automatically terminates. Any pending proceeding against the lawyer will be determined on the basis of the available evidence.
Arizona Lawyer Bar Ethics Rules
The AZ Rules of Professional Responsibility (“ARPR”) are a set of guidelines that govern a lawyer’s ethical obligations. These rules cover a wide range of topics and provide a framework for how a lawyer should react in certain situations. The ARPR also outline sanctions for violating these rules, which can include suspension from the practice of law. Commons areas where attorneys can get into trouble include:
- Conflicts of interest
- Failure to disclose adverse interests
- Theft of client settlements
- Fraud, deceit and misrepresentation
- Failure to protect confidential information
- Failure to report attorney misconduct
- Criminal Convictions
Sometimes it can be tough to know where the line is between creative and unethical conduct – especially if you’re recently licensed to practice or starting out on your own. Our Arizona Bar Ethics Lawyer is available to address specific ethical concerns; so that you don’t find yourself in a tight spot!
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Bar Complaint Attorney services and how we can help to protect your license, set up a consultation with Chelle Law and reach out to us today.