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.