Introduction to the Booking Process
When the police arrest somebody they take him to the nearest police station for booking and processing. Otherwise, the police may take the detainee to a police department or sheriff’s station where they can put him in a jail cell. Furthermore, the booking process is complicated and require a long time. It depends on how big the detention facility is or how busy the station is.
However, sometimes the jailers will process the booking in a matter of one hour, or more. Owing to how large the jail is, the booking process can extend for a long time. For example, to a big and busy county jail, it can take up to 12 hours to put all of the detainee’s information in the computer system. To put it in another way, most often defendants are transferred to county jails when there’s no one to bail them out of smaller confinements as soon as possible.
The 4 Steps of Bail Bond Process:
Step 1: The defendant calls the bail bond agency.
Step 2: The bail bond company prepares documents and answer any questions.
Step 3: The defendant arranges payment, and fill out the forms.
Step 4: The bail bondsman posts the bond, and set the defendant free.
Inside Booking and Processing
After the arrest, in the police station or detention center, the police officers search the detainee for weapons, drugs, and the like. Afterward, the jailers catalog and retain the inmate’s personal belongings.
As long as the arrestee is in jail, he does not have access to his money, credit card, cell phone, etc.
Typically, the booking process includes standard procedures, in a detailed overview they are:
1) Recording the suspect’s name and his crime:
Years ago, the police used written records. Today, the jail system record everything digitally on computers.
2) Mug shot:
They have many uses. They clear up any confusion that arises in the case of two suspects with one name. Furthermore, they are useful in determining the physical condition of the arrestee at the time of arrest. The mug shot is most relevant in proving that the arrestee may have resisted arrest, or if the police applied excessive force in making the arrest.
3) Taking the detainee’s clothing and personal belongings:
In some cases, the booking officer let the suspect keep some of his personal belongings such as a wristwatch. But, the defendant must request first. As a rule, the jailers will return anything they took from the arrested upon release on bail. Except illegal materials or evidence of a crime.
To illustrate, if the police found a packet of illegal drugs with the defendant after arresting him for stealing a laptop. Then the drugs packet is considered contraband. The police would seize the laptop and drugs as evidence, even if the police didn’t press drugs related charges.
4) Taking fingerprints:
Fingerprints are a standard procedure of the booking process and the officers enter that data into a nationwide database run by the FBI. The database is accessible to most local, state, and federal police agencies. Matching fingerprints left at the crime scene to those on the database helps the police officers put their fingers on the real criminal.
5) Running a full body search:
Per usual, police officers perform offhand pat-down checkup at the time of arrest. An in-depth, and embarrassing, strip search usually takes part during the booking process in the jail. To prevent drugs or weapons from entering the prison, the booking officers often order the detainee to remove all clothes and submit to a full body search.
In addition, strip searches are legal even in minor crimes and even if there is no slightest indication that the detainee might be carrying a weapon or contraband. Furthermore, in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that that kind of search is lawful even if the crime was something little as a traffic violation. (Florence v. Bd. of Chosen Freeholders of Cty. of Burlington, 132 S. Ct. 1510 (2012).)
6) Analyzing Past Warrants
The booking officer looks up to confirm if the arrestee has any pending charges, starting from unpaid parking tickets to murder. Suspects with pending warrants usually have a dim chance of bailing out.
7) Health Checkup:
For the protection of jail officials and inmates from health hazards, the booking process may include X-rays, to detect tuberculosis and blood tests, to spot sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and AIDS.
8) Obtaining Information Relevant to Incarceration Conditions:
To diminish any chance of violence or injury in the jail, the official often asks the detainees about gang affiliations, criminal associations, and other outside relationships. Largely, the answers determine if the inmate deserves protective custody or being put in different part of the jail rather than another. Routine questioning of this kind might or might not lead to an “interrogation” which require the officers to recite the Miranda warning to the defendant.
The information that the suspect might disclose while responding to the booking officer’s questions can be admissible evidence under the routine-booking-question exception to Miranda. However, in some states, the damaging information that the arrestee reveals about his gang affiliations in response to the question cannot be used in court if the officer didn’t recite the Miranda rights to the defendant. (Pennsylvania v. Muniz, 496 U.S. 582 (1990), People v. Elizalde, 61 Cal. 4th 523 (2015).)
9) Taking a DNA Sample:
The officers might need from the suspect to provide DNA samples for entering them into the national DNA databases.
Getting a Call from the Jail
Some jail cells have a payphone service and even a bail entry in the yellow pages directory. If not, the jailer may choose to give phone access to the detainee. In any case, the inmates cannot receive phone calls or messages. When the defendant does call, the person on the other side needs to get as much information as possible. It is essential to know the area of the jail, the reason for the arrest, if the accused wants a bailout, and if there are personal matters that needs immediate attention, for instance, pets, job tasks, and children.
Jail Processing Duration and Setting Bail
As discussed, the jail staff put significant efforts in the processing process, and it does take substantial time to finish, it is a lot of pressure on the defendant as well. In small jails, the process can take 1 hour. That is not the case with busy police stations where it takes up to 12 hours or more.
Moreover, the timing itself of the arrest can affect the duration of the process. Weekends, holidays, at night, during turbulent times, meal times, and shift changes all contribute to further delays in the process. It goes without saying that the jail’s priority is everyone’s safety. Luckily, the officials can determine the defendant’s eligibility for bail during the booking process.
After the jail staff finishes the booking process, the computer system takes some time to update. By the same token, the bail bond process can’t initiate until the booking process is completed. After the defendant completes his booking process, he has a few options for release.
To be clear, all of that doesn’t stop the defendant or the Indemnitees from initiating the bailout process immediately after the arrest. Some jail might even speed up the booking process knowing that the bond process is set in motion, mainly, because they need the space.
The individual might be released on bail after he is booked. If there is no bond posted, the officials will continue to hold the defendant in custody until arraignment. Arraignment usually takes three business days. As an example, if the police arrested someone on Monday night, he would often be arraigned on the following Friday.