AV® Preeminent™ rated lawyer, Stephen T. Ariagno is a knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense attorney based in Wichita, Kansas. With more than twenty-five years of experience, Mr. Ariagno is the founding partner of Ariagno, Kerns, Mank & White, Individual Practitioners. For his industry-leading representation and success in trials throughout the state, he has been selected to the Kansas Super Lawyers® list for over ten years running.
Inspired by his father to go to law school, Mr. Ariagno described criminal defense as his calling. Though he had studied tax law at the University of Kansas School of Law, he ended up in criminal law by happenstance. He noted:
When I came out of law school I did not intend to be a criminal defense lawyer, but circumstances found me there and it turned out that I was quite adept at it. It ended up being something that I really enjoyed and if I could do it all over again I wouldn’t change a thing.
Mr. Ariagno received his first taste of criminal litigation as a prosecuting attorney with the City of Wichita. Less than two years later, he completed advanced training at the National Criminal Defense College and went into private practice as a criminal defense attorney.
Since then, Mr. Ariagno has been involved in 200 jury trials throughout Kansas. His high success rate in cases that include homicide, narcotics, and DUIs can be attributed to his thorough pre-trial preparation and in-depth understanding of criminal law. From his intricate strategy planning to his careful juror selection, Mr. Ariagno is always ready to take on even the most complicated of cases. In addition, his familiarity with the prosecuting side ensures clients receive a zealous and aggressive defense that results in reduced or expunged criminal charges.
Aside from his skilled client advocacy, Mr. Ariagno is a well-respected member of his legal community. He is the former president of the Wichita Bar Association and the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, is a life member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and currently serves on numerous legal committees. He has also spoken at various seminars presented by the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Wichita Bar Association, and the Kansas Bar Association.
This prominence gives Mr. Ariagno a unique insight into prevailing trends in criminal defense law. In particular, he noted the rapid evolution of technology and its effect on his industry:
In the last few years I have seen a utilization of technology like I have never seen before. There are now online tools that exist for organizing documents and evidence for major cases. And the use of social media has had an extreme impact in my field. Not only can it be used in investigations, for example to find out more about witnesses or others involved in a case, but it is also highly used by clients, meaning we as lawyers have to take advantage of the internet to enhance our brand.
With over two and half decades dedicated to criminal law, Mr. Ariagno shows no signs of slowing down. Outside of his law practice, Mr. Ariagno enjoys spending time with his wife and three children.