Our Mercer County Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Make a Big Difference in Your Case
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in Mercer County, let the attorneys of Keith Oliver Criminal Law help you build a strong defense by:
- Explaining your legal rights, answering all your questions, and discussing the potential outcomes to your charges so that you can anticipate what to expect in your case
- Independently investigating the underlying facts and circumstances of your case to recover any additional evidence not collected by the prosecution
- Reviewing the evidence to identify factual or legal defenses that might be available to you
- Retaining expert witnesses, if needed, for your defense
- Moving to reduce or dismiss the charges against you, or filing motions to exclude the state’s evidence when it was obtained in violation of your rights or when the evidence is unreliable or otherwise legally inadmissible
- Pursuing alternatives to criminal prosecution that you might be eligible for, such as drug court or other diversionary programs
- Negotiating with the prosecution to try to reach a favorable plea deal, if appropriate, based on the circumstances of your case
- Advocating on your behalf if you choose to fight your charges at trial to pursue an acquittal
What Are the Penalties for a Criminal Conviction in Mercer County?
In New Jersey, trial courts have multiple options for sentencing a convicted defendant. Potential elements of New Jersey criminal sentences include:
- Court costs and costs of prosecution
- Restitution to victims of the crime
- Community service
- Community supervision
- Suspension or revocation of driver’s licenses or firearms licenses
- Sex offender registration requirements
Fines and jail or prison terms can vary depending on the grading of a criminal offense. Criminal offenses in New Jersey are graded either as petty disorderly persons/disorderly persons offenses (more commonly known as misdemeanors) or as indictable crimes (more commonly known as felonies). Basic sentencing guidelines in New Jersey include:
- Petty disorderly persons offenses: Up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500
- Disorderly persons offenses: Up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
- Fourth-degree crimes: Up to 18 months in prison, with a presumptive sentence of nine months, along with a potential fine of up to $10,000
- Third-degree crimes: Three to five years’ imprisonment, with a presumptive sentence of four years, plus a possible fine of up to $15,000
- Second-degree crimes: Five to 10 years’ imprisonment, with a presumptive sentence of seven years, plus a possible fine of up to $150,000
- First-degree crimes: 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment, with a presumptive sentence of 15 years, plus a potential fine of up to $200,000
Certain first-degree crimes fall outside the standard sentencing ranges and instead have sentences prescribed in the statute itself. These crimes usually have much more severe maximum sentences, including the potential for life sentences for some offenses. Examples of these first-degree crimes include sexual assault of minors under the age of 13, kidnapping, or murder.
How the Long-Term Consequences of a Criminal Record Can Haunt You
Even after a convicted defendant has paid their fines and served their probation or term of incarceration, they may continue to face consequences from their conviction for years or possibly even for the rest of their lives.
Arguably the most significant consequence of a conviction is having a criminal record that will show up on background checks when an offender applies for employment, admission to educational programs, credit, or even certain government benefits. People who have criminal histories often have difficulty getting jobs, housing, or educational opportunities, as employers, landlords, or educational institutions may have concerns about working with someone who has committed crimes in their past. Even if an offender wants to live a law-abiding life after completing their sentence, they can still face stigmas or discrimination from others.
Certain criminal offenses may also have other long-term consequences for an offender. For example, someone who is convicted of sex-based offenses may be required to register as a sex offender. Sex offender registrations will also often show up on background checks and make applying for housing or jobs more difficult. Depending on the severity of the crime, an offender may be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.
In addition, some sex offenders may also be subjected to community supervision for life, which requires an offender to regularly report to law enforcement authorities and to notify the authorities about housing or job changes, plans to travel out of state, or new telephone numbers, email addresses, or social media accounts. Even if an offender moves to another state, they will have to continue their registration or supervision obligations in their new state.
How to Protect Your Rights During and After an Arrest in Mercer County
If you are arrested for a crime in Mercer County, you should remember the following tips to help preserve your legal rights in the criminal justice system:
- Do not attempt to resist arrest, even if you know you haven’t committed any crimes. Fleeing from law enforcement or resisting arrest is a crime itself, even if you are innocent of the charges you are being arrested for.
- Exercise your right to remain silent. While you may think you can clear up the situation or talk your way out of an arrest or a charge, anything you say to the police or investigators can later be used against you in a criminal prosecution. Instead, politely decline to answer questions and tell them that you want to exercise your right to remain silent.
- Advise the police as soon as possible that you also want to exercise your right to legal counsel. You have the right to talk to an attorney prior to being subjected to questioning by the police and to have your attorney with you during any questioning.
- If you are released following your arrest, gather any documents or other items that may be relevant to preparing a legal defense in your case. This includes any paperwork from the court and any notes you made about the details of your arrest.
Get Advice from a Trusted Mercer County Criminal Defense Lawyer Now
When you are charged with a crime in Mercer County, you need to act quickly to protect your freedom. Contact Keith Oliver Criminal Law today for a free, confidential consultation with a knowledgeable Mercer County criminal defense lawyer. We will fight tooth and nail for the best possible outcome to your charges.