Criminal defense lawyers serving: Stanislaus, Sonoma, Tuolumne, Merced, San Joaquin Counties - and Federal Courts in Sacramento and Fresno


What happens when a teacher has his class disrupted by an unruly student who dislikes the teacher, calling him names to the student’s friends and making obscene gestures and gyrations behind the teacher’s back?

The teacher is charged with felony child endangerment!

Scott Wendt is a committed, extremely popular junior high math teacher. He considers teaching children his calling (actually it is his second calling—he previously was a minister).

One day when the student had been particularly disruptive and disobedient, the teacher led him back to his seat, holding him by the forearm. The student claimed that the teacher’s action had resulted in him breaking a bone in his hand. The bone which was broken, the scaffoid bone, is a small one in the hand that almost always breaks only when one braces for a forward fall by extending the hand downward.

Mr. Wendt asked Kirk McAllister to defend him. The investigation began immediately.

All the students in the class were interviewed. School records were obtained, with the authorization of the judge who was to hear the case.

A P.E. teacher had a specific recollection of the student in P.E. class in the period following Mr. Wendt’s math class. The student fully participated in P.E., even doing push-ups!

Another former teacher of the student was found who had made extensive notes about the young man. She was troubled by his constant lying about others hitting him, and made her notes because she was afraid that he would lie about another student, or even a future teacher! She did not know Mr. Wendt.

Past students of Mr. Wendt were lined up to be character witnesses to his caring, peaceful nature.

The assumption in the courthouse was that the District Attorney would offer a misdemeanor as a way for Mr. Wendt to avoid a felony.  Mr. Wendt was adamant that he was not going to take a plea bargain—he knew he was innocent.

Within the time prescribed by law, Mr. McAllister provided the prosecutor with the evidence that would be presented to the jury in his client’s defense.

The day before jury selection was to start, the District Attorney dismissed the case.

Scott Wendt is now back in the classroom, following his passion—teaching the children.

(Mr. Wendt’s name and photograph appear with his express permission.)
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June 15, 2012 – In trial the testimony focused as much on dirty dancing as it did on the charged offense, driving under the influence of alcohol.

Mr. McAllister’s client was thrown out of a bar for “dirty dancing”.  Ironically, the bouncers were far more offended by his dancing than was his dance partner, who had egged him on. The client testified “She wanted me to be a bad boy—I guess I was!”

Not content with 86’ing him out of the establishment, the bouncers called the police and contended he drove his car in the parking lot, thus getting him charged with DUI.

The jury sided with Kirk McAllister’s defense and found the client not guilty—even though the blood alcohol level was 0.18%.  (Case number1427624)

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Jury Acquits McAllister’s Client of Child Molest

April 25, 2012 – Investigation should not stop when the trial begins. In this case Kirk McAllister’s investigation during the trial became critical in disproving the alleged victim’s version of the incident given on the stand. Also, in an unprecedented move Mr. McAllister called as his witness the Child Protective Services (CPS) worker who had investigated the case, in order to correct the false impression given by the police. The result: the jury found McAllister’s client not guilty of child molest. (Case No. 1420585 )

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McAllister Foils Mortgage Fraud Prosecution

August 18, 2011- The prosecution considered the mortgage fraud case a “slam dunk,” but Mr. McAllister didn’t agree and delivered a hung jury after a two-week long trial. “Kirk McAllister, Burdg’s attorney, said he was not surprised the trial’s outcome was a hung jury, knowing how the stories from both sides conflicted with each other. ‘It was obviously a very hardworking jury,’ McAllister said.” Modesto Bee, August 19, 2011.

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Modesto Criminal Defense

Being accused of a crime can turn your whole life upside down. Long before a trial, you face missed work because of time in custody, and negative work and family consequences from criminal charges. Bail can be very expensive for an ordinary family without thousands tucked away for emergencies. And then there’s the emotional stress of facing time in prison, steep fines, the loss of a drivers license, life with a criminal record and other results of a criminal conviction. If you’re facing these life-changing penalties, you need competent, aggressive legal representation at the earliest stage possible.

McAllister & McAllister can help. Our Stanislaus County criminal defense attorneys are the most sought after in the area.  We understand how the other side thinks, how they investigate and how they try to win cases — and we can use that information to your advantage. We also know the courts, the judges and the prosecutors in the Central Valley intimately. Our team is highly knowledgeable in DUI/DWI law and has many years of handling these cases, including high profile DUI/DWI cases.

Our Stanislaus County criminal attorneys represent people accused of DWI or DUI in Modesto and Stanislaus County. We can also help with the drivers license suspension hearings that often go along with an impaired-driving arrest. And McAllister & McAllister attorneys help people throughout the Central Valley who are accused of:

  • Vehicular homicide
  • Homicide and assault
  • Weapons and gun crimes
  • Drug offenses
  • Sex crimes
  • Theft crimes

At McAllister & McAllister, we believe that everyone, no matter what the charge, is Constitutionally entitled to a thorough and vigorous defense. Our experience as former prosecutors is invaluable in helping clients to get that defense, because it allows us to comb through the details of the prosecutions case, looking for legal and factual errors that can help you win an acquittal or dropped charges. We will work to have your charges dropped or reduced, get you a fair plea arrangement or win you the best possible result in a trial. Even if you feel your case is hopeless, we will work to reduce or eliminate your charges and the punishments you face.

If you’re facing criminal charges, you need smart, experienced Modesto criminal defense attorneys who are committed to mounting you an aggressive defense. McAllister & McAllister can give you that edge. For a free evaluation of your case, call us today at 1-209-575-4844 or fill out our confidential online consultation form.

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McAllister & McAllister – Criminal Defense Attorneys

Today we live in a world where people need criminal defense attorneys more
than ever – particularly people who consider themselves law-abiding and thus immune from government

For example, at McAllister & McAllister we regularly represent businesses and company executives
who are charged criminally because an accident has occurred in the workplace resulting in injury or death. These do not fit the common conception of a “criminal.”

Lack of familiarity with the criminal system creates many opportunities for making mistakes, such as thinking that by talking with the investigating authorities without counsel one can “clear it up.” The most common problem I have seen is failing to engage a criminal defense attorney at the earliest stage, usually because no one realized that the problem could “go criminal.”

If anyone has any doubts about the kinds of cases that Cal-OSHA brings to the criminal courtroom, peruse the Cal-OSHA newsletter which we have linked to this website.

In today’s climate, criminal defense lawyers are, as one judge wrote,
“necessities not luxuries.”

For you convenience, an intake form as been added to this website so that you can hasten the process of hiring a lawyer.

McAllister & McAllister, Inc., is dedicated to providing our clients with the one-on-one personal attention
that is required to handle your case. As Modesto and Santa Rosa’s premier legal defense firm, we specialize in handling complicated criminal defense matters.

McAllister & McAllister, Inc., believes in an aggressive defense of its clients, with heavy reliance on
thorough investigation. Vigorously defending clients means that we frequently take cases to jury trial.

McAllister & McAllister, Inc., is known as “The law firm that police officers choose when they are in trouble.”

If you need legal representation in the Stanislaus, Merced County area or anywhere in the Santa Rosa area, call or contact us via email to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to serving you.

Areas we serve include:
Stanislaus County, Sonoma County, Merced County, San Joaquin County and Tuolumne County.

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Charged With A Crime? Know Your Rights!

Know Your Rights in a Criminal Case
If you’ve been charted with a crime, the United States Constitution and your state’s constitution promise you some very powerful protections. With every step of the process, new rights will come into play. A local criminal defense attorney will be able to look at your case in detail, and make sure that your rights have been honored up to this point, and that you understand your rights going forward.
Pre-Arrest Rights
You have the right not to incriminate yourself, which is commonly described as the right to remain silent. The right against self-incrimination is actually more complex than simply the right to remain silent.
You have the right to be free of “unreasonable search and seizure”, though there are various regulations and exceptions that accompany that right.
You have the right to an attorney. Here at McAllister & McAllister, you will be able to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney who can make sure that you understand your rights. It’s important to note, however, that your right to an attorney does not necessarily apply to your decision as to whether to take or refuse a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test.
You also have the right to be advised by police about these rights, commonly called Miranda Rights.
When can the police conduct a search of my property?
There are rules and regulations that surround police searches. The police can search your home, property, car, or financial records if they have probable cause to believe that they’ll find evidence of a crime, and therefore receive a search warrant issued by a judge.
But in some situations, the police can also conduct a search without a warrant. If, for example, a potential piece of evidence is sitting out in the open, where there is “no reasonable expectation of privacy,” then the police aren’t required to have a search warrant to conduct a search. They also don’t need a warrant if you voluntarily agree to a search. Many people have let the police search when they didn’t have to, because they didn’t know they had the right to refuse. It is easy to misstep and hurt your case, but a criminal defense attorney will be able to give you the explicit details of search and seizure laws as they pertain to your case.
When do the police have to read me my rights?
If you are a suspect, the police are required to read you your Miranda rights before conducting a custodial interrogation. What exactly constitutes “custodial interrogation” has been the subject of many court cases, and is more complicated than you might expect. Clearly, not all discussion between the police and a suspect is “interrogation.” Some discussions are different than interrogation, like the kind of simple practical interaction that might occur between police and a suspect to ask if he wants something to drink, for example. The police don’t need to read a suspect his or her rights at this point. However, in some circumstances a police officer may be found to have interrogated a suspect in custody even without asking direct questions.
Once a custodial interrogation begins, the police must read the suspects his or her rights and ensure that they are understood. A criminal defense attorney in your area can.
If the police don’t read my rights, do they have to dismiss the charges?
Many people think that if the police don’t read them their rights, the charges are automatically dismissed. This is usually not the case. Instead, if a suspect is interrogated in custody without being read his rights, then the statement he or she makes may be excluded as evidence.
Additionally, any evidence that wouldn’t have been discovered without that original statement may not be admissible as evidence either. Sometimes this lack of usable evidence can lead to dismissed charges, but there is no automatic dismissal if a suspect’s rights are not read.
I have heard that I have a right to a “speedy trial.” What does that mean exactly?
The 6th Amendment guarantees that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury…” But there isn’t a specific Constitutional guideline to determine what exactly constitutes a “speedy trial.” Some jurisdictions have established set time periods within which a criminal case must pass through the system. Cases that exceed these time periods-without good cause or delays at the request of the defendant-may be dismissed for that reason alone.
In jurisdictions without specific time limits, the courts typically consider the actual passage of time and reasons for the delay, how the delay may impact the case, and the defendant’s assertion of his rights to a speedy trial. The seriousness of the charges and possible consequences can also impact the trial judge’s analysis, though this is not a consideration set forth by the Supreme Court.
When do I have the right to a trial by jury?
Any crime that may be punished by imprisonment for more than six months automatically triggers the right to a trial by jury, no matter what the offense is. While there isn’t a universal definition of the term, those crimes determined to be “petty offenses” don’t necessarily warrant a trial by jury. The number of people on the jury can vary also, depending on the state and the seriousness of your crime. Usually a jury of twelve must return a unanimous vote, though the U.S. Supreme Court has approved decisions by some states to accept verdicts that are not unanimous. If the court uses a jury of 6, though, the verdict must be unanimous.
Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have also determined that if a defendant exercises his right to a trial by jury, aggravating factors for sentencing purposes must also be decided by a jury, and must be established beyond a reasonable doubt.
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