Man being handcuffed by police

The Jail Booking Process

After an individual is taken into custody, he or she is then taken to jail and put through the booking process.

The length of the booking process depends on how many people need to be processed and how many officers are available at a given time. Even if you post bail right away, you may need to stay in jail for several hours while the booking process is completed.

Your Name and Nature of Offense is Written Down

The first step in the process is to get your name and the nature of your offense entered into the record. In some cases, this may be written by hand, but many jurisdictions keep computer records. If you are eligible for bail, you may call for a bail bond after processing is complete to expedite your release.

You Are Fingerprinted and Your Picture is Taken

The next step in the process is to submit a fingerprint and have a mug shot taken. Your picture is taken mostly to establish your physical condition at the time of arrest in the event that anyone claims that undue force was used on them. Your fingerprints may be sent to a national database to determine if you may have been involved in any other crimes.

You Will Turn Over Your Clothing and Personal Property to the Authorities

The clothes that you are wearing or anything else on your person could be deemed evidence in the case against you. Therefore, you will have to hand them over to the police as part of the booking process. In some cases, you may get your belongings back after you are released from jail. Everything that is taken is logged to ensure that nothing is stolen or missing when you receive your property back.

A Full Body Search May Take Place

Before entering a jail, you may be forced to disrobe and submit to a full body search. This is done to ensure that drugs or weapons are not transferred into the jail by inmates. While it may seem humiliating, it is done for the protection of officers and inmates alike.

Health and History Screens Are Next

Next, you will be asked a series of health questions or subject to blood testing to ensure that won’t spread anything while in jail. You may also be asked about any tattoos or gang affiliations to ensure that you are kept away from those who may be a danger to you.

Warrant Checks Are the Last Step

One of the last steps of the booking process is a warrant check to ensure that you aren’t wanted anywhere else. If you are, that may prevent you from leaving jail even if you are able to make bail in your current case.

Spending time in jail is never easy. If you cooperate, you may be able to get through the process quickly, secure bail and go home before the night is over. You can then focus on preparing a defense against the charge or charges against you.

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