Arrest and Booking Process in the Criminal Justice System

What happens when you are booked in jail? What happens after booking? Get to know about the booking process in the criminal justice system.

What Happens When You Get Arrested?

Getting arrested and booked into jail can be a very unsettling experience. In most cases, a person can find themselves being handcuffed and placed into a police car at an unexpected time. This can cause a person to panic and worry about what will happen to them.

Although it’s normal to worry when this happens, the best thing to do is to remain calm. Staying calm and making rational decisions will help the process to resolve quickly so that you can get back to your life.

Check out this article to find out what happens when you’re arrested and booked into jail. If you know what’s coming, you’ll be better prepared and find it easier to stay calm.

Arrest and Booking Process

The Arrest and Booking Process

When police officers decide to place a person under arrest, a certain process kicks in. Although this process can vary from case to case and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, it typically follows a certain pattern. The process includes:

  • The arrest (being handcuffed and transported to jail)
  • The booking process (having personal items confiscated, changing clothes, being taken to a holding area)
  • The disposition (making phone calls, posting bail and leaving jail)

The best way to handle an arrest is to make the right decisions so that you can get to the last step and leave jail as soon as possible.

The Arrest

This is the biggest variable in the arrest and booking process. You can be arrested and taken to jail for a huge variety of reasons. For example, you may have had too much to drink before driving home from the bar or you may be asleep at home when a warrant officer knocks on your door.

The circumstances of your arrest have a big impact on the next few steps. For example, if you’re arrested for fighting, police officers will respond with force to get you into custody. If you’re at home, you might be arrested quickly and calmly.

Whatever the case, comply with officers and never fight them. Resisting arrest, arguing with officers or physically fighting will only get you tased, pepper sprayed and charged with additional offenses. Staying calm and following the officers’ instructions will help you get through this process quickly.

You’ll be placed in handcuffs and transported to the jail in a police cruiser. The officer may read you your rights, or they may not. They might inform you of the reason for your arrest but not necessarily of the charges you might face. They can also enter your statements into their report, so it’s best to stay quiet as much as possible.

Once you arrive at the jail, the next step begins.

The Booking Process

Upon arriving at the jail, you’ll be taken to the booking area. If many other people are being processed, this might take several hours. If the jail isn’t busy, it might take just a few minutes.

During booking, your name, physical description and the reason for your arrest will be recorded. You may be asked to state your name for the record.

Next, you will be photographed. This is the infamous “mug shot”. This is done for identification purposes, as well as for recording information related to your arrest, such as cuts and bruises you sustained in the process.

Next, you’ll be asked to turn over your personal property. Your phone, wallet, keys and anything else in your pockets will be confiscated and booked into police storage. Any potential evidence will also be collected and catalogued. You may be searched for weapons or contraband. You may be strip-searched as well. This is not always done but the police may order a strip-search at their discretion.

Your fingerprints will be recorded for future identification. The police will also enter your name into a database to find out if you have any previous criminal history. This won’t affect your current situation but it can affect how you will be charged eventually. However, if you have outstanding warrants or are currently on probation, you may be denied bail.

You may also be screened for infectious diseases and given an immunization shot.

Finally, you will be placed into a holding cell. You may be asked to change into jail clothes or you may be allowed to keep the clothes you were arrested in.

The Disposition

At this stage, you can finally start to move towards a resolution. If the police don’t want to question you, you’ll be allowed to make some phone calls. You should use those calls to contact your lawyer or someone who can bail you out. Most areas have 24-hour bail bond locations so that you can be released.

Once your bail is posted, you’ll be processed back out of jail on bond. Your items will be returned and you’ll receive notification of your conditions of bond. Typically, this is a court order that specifies when your court date will be and a direction to stay out of trouble. You may also be ordered to avoid drugs and alcohol while on bond.

After being released, you will usually have to contact your bondsman right away to find out their conditions of bond. You may also be asked to meet with a court official to set up pretrial conditions that will last until your case is disposed.

If you can’t afford to post bond, you may be released on your own recognizance for minor offenses. If this doesn’t occur, you may be held until your court date. However, the time you spend in jail can be applied to your sentence.

If the police want to question you, they can do so, but you should always request an attorney. If you can’t afford one, the police can provide you with a court-appointed attorney. Never discuss your case with police without an attorney.

If you get arrested, remember this list and stay calm. Eventually, you’ll get out and you can get to work setting up a good legal defense with a qualified attorney.

The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp is a criminal law firm with a practice devoted to the defense of criminal charges including felonies and misdemeanors of all stature. The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp specializes in representing clients faced with such offenses as DWI – Driving While Intoxicated, theft crimes, assault, murder, sex crimes and more. The firm also helps in the sealing of criminal records including expungement and petitions for non-disclosure throughout Texas.

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