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Booking Process

Camden Criminal Lawyer

What to Expect during the Booking Process

During an arrest, emotions run high and often, people are unsure of what is next to come. The reality is that people generally are unaware of what happens during the booking process until they have gone through it themselves. However, even if you have never been arrested and have never broken the law before, it can come in handy to be aware of the steps and your rights before ever facing a criminal charge.

person being fingerprinted

Booking Process Steps

As most things go in life, there is a set protocol in what happens following an arrest. Those who are under arrest can expect the following steps, and should contact a Camden criminal lawyer immediately if any steps are skipped. During the entire process, it is your right not to speak until after the booking is finished and you have been given, or have contacted your own, lawyer.

Step 1: Recording the suspect’s name and their alleged crime.

Step 2: Taking a mug shot. The mug shot is important as it can determine who of the same name has been arrested, serve as proof if someone else’s name is given during arrest, or establish a suspect’s physical condition at the time of arrest for an array of reasons, including police brutality claims.

Step 3: Processing suspect’s clothing and personal property. Unsurprisingly, suspects are not allowed to take their personal items in with them while being held. All articles must be returned upon release unless they are evidence of a crime.

Step 4: Fingerprinting. This is a standard part of booking and fingerprints are usually entered into a nationwide database.

Step 5: Full body search. While there is usually a pat-down inspection at the time of arrest, there is a much more in-depth strip search to prevent weapons or drugs from entering the holding area. Even those being held for a simple traffic violation may be subject to search to ensure the safety of police officers and other detainees.

Step 6: Looking for other warrants. It is typical protocol for an officer to ensure the arrestee is not wanted for other charges at the time of arrest. Those with pending warrants are not often granted bail. The arrestee has the right to remain silent on all charges, including outstanding warrants. If you begin to be questioned, be sure to know your rights and seek legal counsel.

Step 7: Health screening. This may not occur if you are being held until you post bail. However, to protect the health and safety of jail officials and other inmates, those undergoing the booking process may be subject to X-rays and blood tests.

Step 8: Eliciting information relevant to incarceration conditions. This can include information on gang affiliations and other outside relationships that may affect the likelihood of violence or injury. For some, protective custody may be necessary. The questioning in this scenario does not count as an interrogation, meaning the officers are not required to read the arrestee a Miranda warning. Information shared during this questionnaire is admissible in court as evidence, as it falls under “routine booking question exception” to Miranda, which should be held in consideration by the arrestee.

Step 9: DNA sample. Depending upon your circumstances, you may be required to provide a DNA sample. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled under the Fourth Amendment that police officers are constitutionally allowed to ask those in the booking process for a DNA sample for the nationwide database.