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What is “booking”?

What people call “booking” is that part of the criminal justice process when an arrested person is required to provide physical evidence to determine and record his identity prior to being detained and arraigned. It is also the part of the criminal justice process when the arrested person’s name and other physical characteristics are entered into the “book” or public record. After a person is booked, the arrested person has a criminal record.

What will happen to me during booking?

  1. You will be photographed.
  2. You will be stripped of all items of clothing.
  3. You will be patted down. A “pat-down” is when a police officer pats your outer clothing to determine if you have any weapons on you.
  4. You will be searched. Your body cavities will be searched to determine that you are not concealing weapons or substances on your body.
  5. You may be checked medically for injuries. Your general state of health at the time of arrest will be determined so that if there are questions regarding excessive use of force in arresting you, there will be evidence of your general state of health.
  6. If during arrest a person show signs of mental distress or disturbance, the police may ask to bring you for a psychiatric evaluation.
  7. The clothes you were wearing at the time of the arrest will be taken, bagged and tagged.
  8. Items or articles you were wearing such as wrist watches or jewelry may also be recorded and bagged.
  9. Items found in your pocket will also be listed and bagged.
  10. Items seized from your possession such as drugs or prohibited substances, cash money, or other items seized from his person or from his possession will be recorded, photographed, listed and bagged.
  11. Contents of your purse or backpack, if you had one at the time of your arrest, will be photographed, listed, tagged and bagged.
  12. Your name and other identifying information will be run through the police database to see if there are other warrants of arrest or criminal charges against the person in other states or counties.
  13. Your name and other identifying information will be checked against the immigration database to determine your citizenship or immigration status. They may also check your name against the database of the Department of Homeland Security.

What types of evidence can the police take from me during booking?

  1. The police can take pictures of your face and your body. They can take pictures of specific parts of your body (hands, feet, face, etc.).
  2. They can take your fingerprints or foot prints. They can measure your height or take your weight.
  3. They can take samples of your handwriting or your signature or your voice. They can scrape underneath your fingernails. They can run a comb through your hair.
  4. They can even take samples of your blood to determine your blood type and to determine if you have communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS or TB.
  5. You may be x-rayed to detect if you have internal injuries.
  6. You may be asked to provide a DNA sample (you may be asked to provide a swab of the inner lining of your mouth).
  7. You may be asked to provide a saliva, urine or blood sample.
  8. The police can ask you to participate in a line-up.

What is a line-up?

A line-up is when people are presented to a possible witness to a crime. The police will see if the possible witness can identify a suspect of it the witness’s recollection of the physical characteristics of the suspect (who may be in the line-up) is consistent with a statement given by the possible witness.

How long does booking last?

The booking process may take several minutes, but it may take as long as several hours. It depends on the number of persons arrested at the same time you were.

Can my lawyer accompany me during booking?

Unfortunately, no, your lawyer cannot accompany you during the booking process. Once you’re booked, you may be detained until your arraignment or, you may be allowed to post bail until the date you are to appear in court. Your lawyer and even your family can wait for you, but they cannot be present when you are being booked.

Do you need a lawyer to help you understand the booking process? Are you facing criminal charges? Do you need a person to defend you against the criminal charges brought against you? Call any of the criminal defense lawyers at Ramiro J. Lluis Law Office – they can help.