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The specific ways that a DUI or DWI can affect your entire life

Perhaps you were driving home after a night out with friends, or maybe you had a few beers at home while watching television. You hop behind the wheel to head home or run a quick errand, and next thing you know, you see flashing flights behind you. You know that a drunk driving arrest and DUI or DWI charge in New Jersey is serious, but what's going to happen now? 

A suspected DUI traffic stop is scary, and any criminal charge against you is a threat to your future. It's important to fight back, but where should you start? How can you start the process of building a strong defense? The place you may want to begin is learning more about what to expect after a DUI and the potential consequences that may affect your life.

How do police get an arrest warrant?

Since the founding of the country, U.S. lawmakers have sought to protect the rights of citizens by placing limits on the actions of law enforcement. Police may not walk into your home whenever they want or search your vehicle without a reason to believe you have committed a crime. These constitutional rights often mean officers must take certain administrative steps before they can act against you.

This includes placing you under arrest. Unless police witness you committing a crime, they must obtain a warrant to arrest you. You may have seen this process dramatized on TV where detectives make a phone call and moments later have authorization to make an arrest. In reality, there is more to the process.

A fake ID is not worth the trouble

It may be several years before you are old enough to drink alcohol. Now that New Jersey is raising the age for buying tobacco products to 21, you may wonder how you will be able to purchase cigarettes. You may think that getting a fake ID will get you access to places where you are too young to be. You may plan on using your fake ID to buy beer at a liquor store this summer or to get a busy bartender to serve you alcohol.

While these may seem like harmless plans, law enforcement is dealing with more serious issues involving fake IDs. They are relatively easy to get, and many are rather difficult to identify as fraudulent. More people are using fake IDs to commit identity theft, credit card fraud and other white collar crimes. Because of this, the penalties for making, possessing or using a fake ID are quite severe.

Are you ready to pay the price for a DUI?

Skating by with a slap on the wrist following a drunk driving arrest is fast becoming a thing of the past. In New Jersey and other states, lawmakers are listening to safety advocates who urge them to tighten the laws and heighten the penalties for DUI convictions. As a result, sentences that were optional or reserved for more serious cases are now becoming the norm.

In fact, time behind bars is mandatory in some cases, and judges have no option for converting this to alternative sentencing. If you are facing DUI charges, even a first-offense, you have a lot at stake and much to prepare for.

Ignition interlock devices: What are they and who may need one?

The state of New Jersey does not treat drunk driving lightly. If a criminal court convicts you on a DUI charge, you may face fines, incarceration, license suspension and the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

An ignition interlock device prevents you from starting your vehicle if the device reads you have alcohol in your system. This piece of equipment allows DUI offenders the ability to drive if they are able to stay sober. Without this option, DUI offenders would just have to wait until their license suspension periods are up before they can drive again.

There are different types of assault charges in New Jersey

Sometimes a night on the town may get a bit more raucous than expected. Unfortunately, even though you may not plan to end up in an altercation, it could happen.

Scenarios can escalate quickly, and if threats of harm or unwanted physical contact take place, the possibility exists that law enforcement officers could get involved. As a result, you, and possibly others involved in an altercation, could wind up facing criminal charges.

Shoplifting is expensive for everyone

Shoplifting may sound like a minor thing. After all, you may have taken things from stores as a kid just for the thrill of it or when your allowance didn't stretch enough for you to afford things you wanted. As an adult, you may not be aware of the true consequences of shoplifting.

Retailers lose billions of dollars each year to shoplifting and other kinds of theft, and this loss is not easy to absorb, especially for a small business owner. This is why many retail establishments are becoming more diligent about prevent shoplifting and are more willing to prosecute those they catch in the act.

Facts that may surprise you regarding field sobriety tests

It's dark outside, and you are on your way home from a fun evening out with friends. It is raining, so there is a slight glare on the road, and your visibility isn't all that great. When a New Jersey police officer pulls you over and says that your tires were veering onto the yellow line, you weren't all that surprised since the road conditions were less than optimal at the time. You figured you would explain that and, perhaps, the officer would issue a warning, then send you on your way.

That's not what happened. Instead, the New Jersey law enforcement officer asked you to step out of your vehicle -- a potential sign that you are under suspicion for drunk driving. The next request was for you to take a field sobriety test. You had enjoyed a drink or two with your friends, so you were immediately nervous about that idea. There are several facts about field sobriety tests that you may not know, which can greatly affect a situation like yours, either positively or in a very negative way. 

The consequences of points on your driving record

You are not alone if you sometimes feel the rules of the road are frustrating. Waiting at a traffic light when no other cars are on the road or staying under the speed limit when you are in a hurry can tempt you to take matters into your own hands. However, ignoring the traffic laws can result in stiff consequences, including losing your privileges to drive, and you may present a danger to other drivers.

Traffic tickets can cover dozens of infractions. You may not think much about it when the officer asks for your signature and hands you a ticket for speeding, making an illegal turn or running a red light. You will probably have a court date and a fine. However, look closer at the ticket and you will see that the officer may have assessed points on your license.

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