Criminal Law

McAlester Criminal Lawyer

  Criminal Law- McAlester Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Law is defined by Cornell University as “a system of laws concerned with crimes and punishment of individuals who commit crimes. Although this seems like a straight forward and simple definition, the fact is that the practice of criminal law is much wider ranging and complicated. Fortunately, the firm of Wagner and Lynch has both experience and a great depth of knowledge in this area of law, and our long track record of success is proof. We are passionate about being an advocate for our clients and a trusted criminal defense lawyer.


 A Misdemeanor is a criminal offense that does not carry a punishment which exceeds a $1000.00 fine, or incarceration in the county jail for more that one year, or both. Under Oklahoma law most misdemeanors have specific penalties for the specific crime committed. This may include a maximum sentence of 30, or 90 days, or six months in jail, but if no penalty is specified in the statute, then the default maximum punishment is one year in county jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. Some misdemeanor offenses have higher penalties based upon other facts surrounding the alleged offense.


A felony is a crime, typically one involving violence, regarded as more serious than a misdemeanor, and usually punishable by imprisonment for more than one year or by death. At Wagner and Lynch we approach every felony filing as if it carries the consequence of a life sentence, because it essentially does. A felony conviction is a designation that affects a person for life. The are very few ways that allow for one to set aside, or be relieved from having a felony record, therefore we treat every felony case as one that affects the rest of a client’s life


Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is when it is alleged that the accused drove a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) is when it is alleged that the accused drove a vehicle while under the influence of a specific drug. Although these are both misfeasors these types of cases tend to get their own classification as a result of the frequency this crime is alleged, and the short and long term affects this type of misdemeanor can have on one’s life.

Police Misconduct/Excessive Force

The 4th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States protects citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” A search is obviously when a law enforcement officer goes through something of yours in which you have a privacy interest. The Constitution does not allow law enforcement officers to just conduct a search through your things whenever they want. Nor does the Constitution allow law enforcement to “seize” something of yours without reason. This also includes your body. Anytime a law enforcement officer uses their authority to stop you, or order you to do something, that is also a “seizure.” The Constitution is clear that a warrant based upon probable cause is required, and then other Constitutionally vetted state and federal laws may carve out some specific instances in which a law enforcement officer may conduct a search and/or seizure without a warrant, reasonably. Still, there are times when law enforcement officers exceed their authority, and every citizen should know what those are. At Wagner and Lynch, we pursue justice in these situations through civil action. You should consider calling Wagner and Lynch today and see if your interaction with law enforcement may result in a civil action, a recovery of monetary damages, or a reward.

State Action


Oklahoma allows civil actions for torts under the Governmental Tort Claims Act (Title 51). A tort is an act causing harm, creating a civil wrong with liability. This allows suing the government for damages. In our practice at Wagner and Lynch, we handle cases where government agencies are sued for officers’ wrongful acts. For instance, if a city police officer is involved, you’d sue the municipality; for a deputy sheriff, it’s the county; and for a state trooper, it’s the state. Not being charged or arrested doesn’t negate a valid civil rights violation claim. For example, we sued on behalf of a client detained by police but not charged. He was handcuffed and questioned without reason. We claimed against the officers’ employing municipality, reaching a settlement with video evidence. We also handle cases where clients, despite facing criminal charges, suffered rights violations. We defend against charges first and advise on civil action if suitable. For example, a client was violently removed from home, arrested, but not injured. We defended the charge and pursued a civil claim against the city, settling favorably. We’ve also secured settlements for clients injured while incarcerated. In conclusion, if you believe law enforcement violated your rights, consult us. You might have a case, and we’re here to help.

McAlester Criminal Lawyer
McAlester Criminal Lawyer

Federal Action

Title 42 of the U.S. Code, Section 1983, creates a civil action for depravation of a citizen’s civil rights in federal court. You can read the actual statute here. The language of the statute has been interpreted to allow victims of constitutional violations to sue state and local government officials for damages. In order to succeed on a Section 1983 claim, a plaintiff must show that: (1) the defendant acted under the color of state law, and (2) the defendant’s actions deprived the plaintiff of a right guaranteed by the Constitution. The Supreme Court has determined that not all constitutional violations will give rise to a Section 1983 claim. A proper claim under the law must be must be “sufficiently egregious” such that it “shock(s) the conscience” or amounts to “conduct that deliberately disregards fundamental rights”. Although Section 1983 can be used to bring a suit for a violation of a wide range of Constitutional Rights, at Wagner and Lynch we focus on those cases involving misconduct on the part of law enforcement. If you think your interaction with law enforcement may have resulted in a violation of your civil rights to the degree that the actions of the officer would shock the conscience of the average person, give us a call today and let us determine if you have an actionable case.

We Never Beg For Mercy

At Wagner and Lynch, we take, what other attorneys may refer to as, an aggressive approach to criminal defense. That is because we are trial attorneys, and see every case from the view that trial is guaranteed. We believe in an immersive approach that often includes conducting our own investigation, to visiting the scene if available. Years of practicing as if always preparing for trial has proven repeatedly to obviously benefit those that do go to trial, but also those whose case results in a dismissal from the court, or by agreement with the District Attorney’s Office. This approach also often results in better offers for our clients that wish do wish to plea. We believe that a good plea result is always more likely when coming from a prosecutor wishing to avoid trial, than approaching a prosecutor and begging for mercy. We never beg for mercy.

To learn more about criminal law, click the link to one of our blog posts regarding the subject in greater detail.

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