Amessage from the founder
Where my passion for criminal defense comes from . . .
While attending Howard University in Washington, D.C., one of the first principles that I learned was embodied in a quote from Charles Hamilton Houston, “. . .a lawyer is either a social engineer or a parasite on society.” A social engineer is a highly skilled, perceptive, sensitive lawyer who uses his skills to solve the problems of local communities and better the conditions of underprivileged citizens. This is the guiding principle behind why I founded the Law Offices of Aaron P. McAllister, focusing primarily on criminal defense.
A major issue that continues to plague the community is the overwhelming amount of minorities and underprivileged citizens who are incarcerated and/or have had contact with the criminal justice system. For example, statistically, African American males are more likely to go to prison than to college. As a criminal defense attorney, my goal is to use the skills that I have acquired through my training and experience to fight against the overrepresentation of minorities and underprivileged citizens in prison.
My unique upbringing and life experiences played a large role in developing my passion for criminal defense work. When I was a child, my parents started a group home for juveniles who had contact with the criminal justice system. Essentially, kids who were under the age of eighteen who had been arrested came to live at my parents’ group home for various periods of time; many of these kids were my roommates. Growing up, I developed close relationships with these kids; indeed, they became my friends, and some of them became family. The majority of these juveniles were underprivileged citizens who were on the wrong path because they lacked guidance and opportunities; however, when they received instruction and mentoring from my parents, many of them walked on a path toward success, e.g., at one point in time almost all of the kids had become honor roll students.
My experience with the group home developed my perspective that these kids were not criminals; rather, they were people who made mistakes and deserved a second chance. In light of my experience in witnessing many of these kids taking advantage of their opportunities when given a second chance, I am very passionate about fighting to provide my clients a second chance. Indeed, I will fight to protect my clients with the aim that their contact with the criminal justice system will not inhibit opportunities for them to achieve their employment and/or educational goals.
My passion for criminal defense work also stems from the experiences of loved ones who have been arrested. In fact, the arrest of one person in particular was a major influence in my decision to apply to law school. In short, a close friend of mine lost his scholarship to college when he was convicted of a felony offense that could have been charged as a misdemeanor; notably, in light of the fact that my friend could not afford representation, the Court appointed him an attorney. Unfortunately, throughout the proceedings, this court appointed attorney consistently demonstrated a lack of preparation and a lack of attention to my friend’s case, which played a large role in my friend ultimately being convicted of a felony instead of a misdemeanor. As a result of this felony conviction, many of the opportunities that were previously available to my friend were taken away, e.g., after losing his scholarship, he dropped out of school, and he was disqualified from employment positions that he had previously wanted to pursue.
I understand the seriousness of being arrested. I understand that contact with the criminal justice system can be a stressful, frightening, confusing, and overwhelming experience both for the person arrested and those close to that person. I understand that a conviction can have a huge impact on one’s future plans, goals, and dreams. I understand the potential collateral consequences. I understand that people make mistakes, and I believe in second chances. This is why I fight to protect my clients. This is why I counsel my clients and explain to them the steps of the criminal process. This is why I attempt to negotiate plea deals that will mitigate both the direct and collateral consequences of the charges against my client. This is why I thoroughly prepare for and give the necessary attention to each and every case. This is why I will not hesitate to take a case to trial if it is in the best interest of my client. This is where my passion comes from, and this is why I fight for my clients.