What to expect from the booking process

After getting arrested, a defendant must first and foremost go through the booking process before being officially detained and able to proceed to a bond hearing to be released. If you or a loved one has no experience with what the booking process entail, here is a quick overview to better explain what will happen.

Basic Information

When a defendant is first brought in, law enforcement will need to collect basic information such as name, address, contact information in addition to a summary of what occurred and the charges that are pending. This is the first step in creating a record that will be kept in law enforcement’s database that can be referred to in the future if need be.

Taking mug shots

After basic information has been obtained, mugshots will be taken that include a front and side profile headshots that include the id number and name of the defendant to add to the record.

Collection of belongings

At this point all valuables such as credit cards, cell phones, clothes and other personal belongings will be confiscated and until release. A jail outfit will also be given to wear for the remainder of the time that they are detained.

Collection of fingerprints

Law enforcement will also collect fingerprints by collecting inked imprints of the various fingers that will be added to the database and to the defendant’s profile. This step is one of the most important steps because it is needed in order to be released after bond has been established.

Full body search

Following fingerprints, a full body examination occurs to ensure that nothing contraband will be smuggled into the detention facility. A full body examination will take place in a private room where a same sex officer will do a visual search and may include the need to perform a cavity search as well.

Searching through the database

A defendant’s fingerprints and information must be scanned through the database to check if this recorded information matches any other warrants or information that can help with other outstanding cases. As said previously, fingerprints must be cleared before the jail will allow a defendant to be bonded out and released.

Mental and physical health check

One of the final steps of the booking process is undergoing a mental and physical health check to make sure that contagious diseases are not spread throughout the jails and that everyone is safe from threats to themselves or others. This check will be similar to a routine wellness exam along with questions about mental diagnosis and history.  

Detention

The last step will be incarceration where the defendant will be put into a jail cell until their bond hearing takes place.

Overall, although there are many steps, the booking process tends to go rather quickly and while there may be parts that feel embarrassing or stressful, it’s important to understand that all parts of the process are done to ensure safety and should be done in a professional, nonjudging manner.