Somerset County Criminal Defense Attorneys

An arrest on any type of criminal charge can leave you stressed and uncertain about the future. You may be facing jail time, heavy fines, and long-term damage to your reputation. There’s also the intense psychological pressure that comes with being accused of a crime and waiting to see what your fate will be.

The best way to protect your freedom and rights is to get help from an experienced Somerset County criminal defense attorney. At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, our skilled legal team will fight fiercely for the best possible outcome in your case. Oftentimes, we are able to get criminal charges reduced or even dropped. In cases where a plea deal is the best option, we negotiate for the minimum possible penalties so our clients can move forward with their lives as soon as possible.

Contact Us Today

Our highly experienced team can help you better understand the charges you’re facing and find the best way forward. Contact us today for a free and confidential case review with a trusted Somerset County criminal defense attorney.

Common Types of Criminal Cases We Handle

At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, our attorneys have the knowledge and skills to tackle many different kinds of criminal cases. Some of the more common cases we handle at our Somerset County criminal defense firm include:

  • Assault and threat crimes – Assault is the crime of causing someone harm or verbally threatening to cause them harm, either with a weapon or without. This is one of the most common types of violent crimes we see at our firm. While assault can be charged as a disorderly persons offense (New Jersey’s equivalent of a misdemeanor), it’s usually charged as a felony and can carry a hefty jail sentence.
  • Domestic violence – New Jersey’s domestic violence laws cover a wide range of offenses against a spouse, romantic partner, child, roommate, or anyone else who lives with you in your household. These crimes include making threats of bodily harm, acts of violence (with or without a weapon), harassment, stalking, kidnapping, and more. Some acts of domestic violence can be considered disorderly persons offenses, but more often, they’re charged as felonies. In addition to prison and fines, potential penalties for domestic violence offenses include losing custody of your children and being forced to surrender any firearms you possess.
  • Drug offenses – Possessing illegal drugs in New Jersey can be a serious offense, depending on the drug and the amount in question. If you’re accused of trafficking or manufacturing illegal drugs, you could face even more severe penalties. In some cases, possessing materials used in the manufacturing, packaging, or selling of illegal drugs leads to significant penalties, even if you did not use or possess the drugs themselves.
  • Weapons offenses – New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. There are tight regulations regarding who can buy guns, and firearms must be properly registered if you wish to carry them in public. Illegally possessing a gun or not obtaining the proper permits is a crime, and the penalties for most crimes escalate considerably if they’re committed using a gun. You can even be charged with a crime simply for bringing a gun into the state without storing it properly, even if you obtained the gun legally.
  • Sex crimes – Sex crimes can include a wide range of offenses. We defend clients against charges of sexual assault, unwanted sexual contact that does not involve penetration, sexual abuse of a minor or the elderly, sexual harassment, and statutory rape. Sex crimes carry some of the harshest penalties under New Jersey law, and you could be forced to register as a sexual offender if you’re convicted. Other penalties include substantial prison sentences and hefty fines.
  • Theft and fraud charges – New Jersey’s anti-theft laws cover many different offenses. These include simple theft, robbery (taking someone’s property off their person), burglary (breaking into someone’s property without permission), and embezzlement. A related offense is fraud, which is basically the crime of using deception or other illegal means to steal money from a business or other institution, such as an insurance company.
  • Juvenile crimes – State officials recognize that criminal offenders who are not legal adults should be treated differently in many cases, and the penalties for juvenile offenses are generally less severe than what adults would face for the same crime. That said, juveniles can be charged as adults in certain circumstances, so it’s still important to take juvenile criminal charges seriously.
  • DWI/DUI charges – Driving while impaired or under the influence is a major offense that could lead to the loss of your driving privileges, large fines, and jail time. You may be able to have a first-time DUI dismissed by completing a pre-trial intervention program, but repeat offenses will lead to more severe penalties. If you injure or kill someone with your car while impaired, you could be charged with assault by auto or death by auto, both of which carry severe penalties.
  • Traffic violations – Speeding, reckless driving, running a red light, failing to yield the right-of-way, and other traffic violations may seem minor, but they can carry significant penalties depending on the circumstances. Repeat offenses lead to heavy fines and the suspension or revocation of your driving privileges.
  • Expungements – Our firm also works with people who want to have a criminal conviction wiped from their record. Having a felony on your record has many adverse effects, from limiting your job prospects to blocking your access to credit for a new home or vehicle. New Jersey has procedures in place to let some offenders have criminal convictions expunged, but the requirements are strict and complicated. A Somerset County criminal defense lawyer from our firm can guide you through the process and help you fight for the clean slate you deserve.

How Our Somerset County Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Make a Difference in Your Case

People who’ve never been accused of a crime often don’t know what exactly a criminal defense lawyer does outside of a courtroom. Here are some of the ways a Somerset County criminal defense lawyer can help if you’ve been accused of a crime in New Jersey:

  • Explaining your exact charges – Many crimes sound similar, but subtle distinctions can make a big difference in terms of the potential penalties you may face. For example, threatening someone could be charged as simple assault, which is a disorderly persons offense, whereas assault with a deadly weapon is an indictable offense and carries much harsher penalties.
  • Looking at the evidence for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case – Prosecutors have to prove you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” to convict you for a crime. A skilled defense lawyer from our firm can examine the evidence and identify potential weaknesses in the case. We can also gather our own evidence and interview witnesses in support of your defense.
  • Suppressing illegally obtained evidence – If any evidence against you was obtained through an illegal search or any other illegal process, our attorneys can file a motion with the courts to have it thrown out. This can significantly weaken the case against you and could lead to the charges being dropped.
  • Negotiating a plea agreement – In some criminal cases, the best option for defendants is to work out a plea deal with prosecutors. If this is the case, our experienced legal team will make a clear case for why you should be given the minimum penalty under the law.
  • Crafting a thorough defense if your case goes to trial – Most criminal cases don’t go to trial, but you need a defense attorney who is prepared to argue your case to verdict if necessary. Thorough trial preparation will put you in the best position possible, no matter how your case is ultimately resolved.

What Are the Penalties for a Criminal Conviction?

The penalties for a criminal conviction in New Jersey depend on the severity of the crime you’ve been charged with. Generally speaking, the potential penalties for a criminal conviction are:

  • First-degree offense – 10 to 20 years in prison, usually without the possibility of parole
  • Second-degree offense – 5 to 10 years in prison, with at least 3 years served before you may be eligible for parole
  • Third-degree offense – 3 to 5 years in prison with the possibility of parole
  • Fourth-degree offense – Up to 18 months in prison
  • Disorderly persons offense – Up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine
  • Petty disorderly persons offense – Up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine

What Are the Long-Term Consequences of Having a Criminal Record?

In addition to jail time, fines, and other penalties, having a conviction on your record can have other social consequences, such as:

  • Being unable to find a job
  • Losing access to credit
  • Ruining relationships with friends and family
  • Losing your driver’s license
  • Losing your right to own a gun
  • Affecting child custody
  • Having to register as a sex offender

There is so much at stake when you are charged with a crime. Let the skilled defense attorneys at Keith Oliver Criminal Law fight for your freedom and your future.

How Can You Protect Your Rights During and After an Arrest in Somerset County?

If you’ve been arrested in Somerset County, it’s important to do everything you can to protect your rights as your case proceeds. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Don’t fight back if you’re arrested. Stay quiet and calm.
  • Ask for a lawyer immediately.
  • Don’t say anything to the police without a lawyer present.
  • Make notes about the details of your arrest, including officer names and badge numbers.
  • If you’re granted bail, be sure to follow all the conditions ordered by the judge.
  • Do not post about your arrest or your case on social media.

Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Somerset County Now

If you’ve been arrested in Somerset County, you need a local defense attorney who knows the courts and the prosecutors. Get in touch with Keith Oliver Criminal Law today to ensure your rights are protected. A Somerset County criminal defense lawyer from our firm can review your case in a free and confidential consultation.