Thomas V. Kelley

Thomas V. Kelley

California Criminal Law Attorney

Firm Overview

Being charged with a crime is a serious matter. A conviction can result in imprisonment, the imposition of fines, the loss of property or voting rights, and in the most serious circumstances, the death penalty. Even the conviction of a minor crime can impair your future job or educational prospects. For these reasons, it is important to mount the most vigorous defense possible in every criminal matter. Given that many individuals have a limited understanding of the law and procedures involved in the criminal justice system, it is critical to find the right lawyer who can provide expect guidance at each stage of the process.

For the past 30 years, the law firm of Thomas V. Kelley, P.C., has aggressively represented clients charged with felonies and misdemeanors throughout the State of California, notably in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. The firm is proud of its reputation for fighting hard and aggressively in defending its clients' rights. The firm provides personal attention to every client, regardless of the severity of the charge, and treats every case with confidentiality and sensitivity.

The firm offers extensive and exclusive legal services in criminal defense, including murder cases, embezzlement and fraud cases, high tech cases, and "three strikes" cases. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, contact the law office of Thomas V. Kelley today for professional, confidential advice and counsel regarding your rights and options.

Main Office

Main Office
96 North Third Street, Suite 500
San Jose CA 95112


(408) 995-5790

Criminal Defense

Our firm represents clients at every stage of a criminal case, including arrest, interrogation, arraignment, bond, discovery, trial, and appeals.

The criminal justice system in California is very complex, involving a multitude of types and severity of offenses, as well as a variety of procedural steps, from arrest to conviction. Criminal defense attorneys work to protect the rights of their clients as they navigate the system from the initial investigation/charge through trial and the appellate process. Our firm represents clients at every stage of a criminal case, including arrest, interrogation, arraignment, bond, discovery, trial, and appeals.

Felonies and Misdemeanors
Under the California Penal Code, offenses are divided into 3 categories: felonies, misdemeanors and infractions. A felony is a crime which is punishable by imprisonment in state prison or the death penalty in capital cases. Most other charges are misdemeanors. Felony crimes range from burglary to murder. Grand theft, kidnapping and many drug offenses are also felonies. There are six classes of felony crimes, with Class 1 being the most serious.

When a crime is punishable by imprisonment in state prison for less than a year or by fine or imprisonment in the county jail, it is a considered a misdemeanor. The most common types of misdemeanor offenses are driving while intoxicated (DUI), petty theft, simple drug possession, and certain domestic violence offenses.

An infraction is a violation of a local ordinance, certain provisions of the Vehicle Code (e.g., speeding), or other local law or statute. Infractions are usually petty offenses and generally do not result in any jail time.

Homicide is the killing of a human being with malice aforethought. Malice aforethought means to kill either intentionally or recklessly with extreme disregard for human life. A homicide charge is generally first-degree or second-degree.

Capital Punishment
Under the California Penal Code, the penalty is death or imprisonment for life without any possibility of parole for a defendant who is found guilty of murder that was intentional and committed for financial gain; murder of a police officer, federal officer, or judge; murder by destructive device, such as a bomb; murder committed while lying in wait; murder committed for religious or racist motives; or murder committed with other felonies. If you or a loved one are facing a murder charge that carries the possibility of the death penalty, it is critical to secure the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney such as Thomas V. Kelley, who has successfully defended death penalty cases.

White Collar Crimes
Any non-violent crime committed for financial gain can fall under the category of a "white collar crime." Common white collar crimes are embezzlement, banking and mail fraud, credit card fraud, computer and internet fraud, mortgage fraud, health care and insurance fraud, and identity fraud. The law firm of Thomas V. Kelley has successfully represented individuals and businesses who were accused of white collar crimes.

Drug Crimes
Drug crimes involve illegal drugs, including narcotics, crack cocaine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamines, as well as prescriptions drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin. A person can be charged for drug crimes for manufacturing and cultivating drugs, possessing for personal use, and possessing for sale, transportation and distribution. The law firm of Thomas V. Kelley handles many drug-related cases, ranging from misdemeanor possession to those associated with violent crimes or racketeering charges, smuggling, or interstate transport of drugs.

Driving While Intoxicated
The charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) occurs when a driver is impaired in some way. Intoxication can include the ingestion, injection, or taking by any other means of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or other substance. Due to crackdowns on drunk driving in recent years, the penalties for DUI even if it is your first offense whether the intoxication was caused by alcohol or a prescribed medication, can be serious. Such penalties include license suspension, fines, attendance in alcohol prevention programs, and jail time.

Parole and Probation
Parole is a conditional release from imprisonment, entitling the parolee to serve the remainder of his or her term outside the confines of an institution if the parolee satisfactorily complies with all the terms and conditions provided in the parole order. The purpose of parole is to help individuals reintegrate into society as soon as they are able, without being confined for the full term of the sentence imposed, and to alleviate the cost to society of keeping the individual in prison.

Being placed on probation represents an agreement that, instead of being sent to jail for the maximum sentence, the probationer will comply with the orders of the court and complete certain obligations to the court in a timely way.

Thomas V. Kelley

Thomas V. Kelley

Thomas V. Kelley received his Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctorate degrees from Santa Clara University and was admitted to practice in California in 1972. Mr. Kelley is a member of the Santa Clara County and San Mateo County Bar Associations, the State Bar of California, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and the California Public Defenders Association. Mr. Kelley has frequently appeared on CourtTV and local TV channels as a legal expert, commenting on both the Scott Peterson case and the Kobe Bryant case.

Thomas V. Kelley and his staff are tireless in their advocacy on behalf of each client's constitutional rights. Everyone at the law firm of Thomas V. Kelley is strongly committed to providing personalized, effective representation for each client, keeping clients up to date on the legal strategies and theories that apply to their case and ensuring that each client has the information he or she needs to make informed decisions on how to best proceed in defending against the criminal charges they face.


Santa Clara University