6 Things You Can Expect to Happen During the Booking Process

While quite a few people are familiar with the phrase “book ‘em” as a part of everyday speech, most will likely have trouble explaining what happens during the booking process. After an arrest is made, booking is an official process conducted at a jail to create an official record of the arrest. Even if a person posts bail immediately, they typically will not be released until the process has been completed. 

Depending on the size of the jail and how busy it is, this can take several hours or more, and involve several procedures. At Davis, Ermis, & Roberts, we’ve put together some of the things you can expect to happen during the booking process to help prepare you for this jarring experience.

Here are six things you can expect to happen during the booking process.

1). Your Name and Other Personal Information is Recorded

Practically every person’s first step in this process will be a conversation with an officer at the jail to detail your name, address, and any other contact information. Along with this, the nature of your alleged crime will be entered into the official record based on the police citation and any accompanying written statement. This process is faster than it used to be, thanks to the convenience of computers, but can still take a fair amount of time depending on your situation.

 2). A Photograph Called a “Mug Shot” is Taken

An official photograph often called a “mug shot” is taken as part of the arrest record. These photographs are used for a variety of reasons. Although rare, some people can have similar names, and a picture is the fastest way to determine who is who. These snapshots also serve to record a person’s physical appearance when they are arrested, which may have a direct impact on their case.

\"best3). Fingerprints are Taken

Taking a person’s fingerprints is one of the most universal and widely recognized parts of the booking process. Because fingerprints are unique to every person, this information can help investigators make connections between any person in custody, and evidence left at the scene of a crime. Thanks to the technology of the modern age, a person’s fingerprints are typically entered into a nationwide database managed by the FBI that is accessible to virtually all local, state, and federal police agencies across the country.

 4). Clothing and Other Personal Items are Confiscated

Depending on where you are arrested, a jail uniform may be issued, and you will be expected to give up all clothing and personal items during your time in custody. These items are normally returned to you once you have been released, but certain belongings that could be considered contraband (such as a pocket knife or illicit materials) along with anything that might be seen as evidence will remain in the possession of the police.

 5). A Full-Body Search is Conducted

As part of the booking process, you may be required to submit to a full-body search, also called a “strip search” by some. Although an arresting officer may conduct a brief pat-down at the scene of a crime to check for dangerous objects or other contraband, a more thorough check is often conducted while being booked. This requires the removal of all clothing and can be both highly embarrassing and very invasive. 

 The general purpose of this type of search is to ensure the safety of the facility by allowing officers to be certain that no hidden weapons or drugs are being brought inside. Even if you are being arrested for a seemingly minor, non-violent crime, it is still entirely legal for a full-body search to be conducted.

6). A Warrant Search is Conducted

A full check of police databases is conducted by the booking officer to determine if a person has any other charges or outstanding warrants. This can be anything from unpaid parking tickets to suspicion of violent crime in another jurisdiction. It is important to remember that a person who has warrants pending will normally not be released, even if bail is posted.

Seeking Legal Help?

If you or someone you care about is facing arrest or has already been arrested, then it is important to retain the services of an experienced attorney. Our skilled team at Davis, Ermis, & Roberts is always ready to help the residents of North Texas understand the charges against them, and what their options are going forward. Contact our office today to set up an initial consultation and learn more about how we can help you through this process.