When offenders are arrested, they are brought to the police precinct and processed, or “booked.” Booking includes gathering and recording information about the suspect, completing a medical screening, collecting fingerprints, removing certain items from the suspect’s possession, and taking the suspect’s photograph.
To protect themselves from self-incrimination, suspects should not provide information about the alleged incident until they have retained legal counsel from a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles.
What Information About the Suspect Is Recorded?
An officer records the suspect’s name and contact information, the nature of the alleged crime and the relevant criminal code under California Penal code, and any additional vital information. Most information about the alleged crime will come from the arrest report.
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Are Suspects Fingerprinted?
An officer will take fingerprint impressions, usually from all 10 fingers, rolling the suspect’s fingertips from side to side to get a full impression. If there is fingerprint evidence related to the alleged crime, the suspect’s prints are available for comparison, and used to match or eliminate the suspect.
Fingerprint information is entered into a database, submitted to the California Department of Justice, and usually shared with the FBI Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). The IAFIS provides fingerprint access to law enforcement organizations across the nation to match criminal evidence with criminal identities.
What Other Information Is Collected?
The booking officer will conduct a system check to determine if the suspect has outstanding arrest warrants or a criminal history, and to discover if the suspect has used or been identified by other names.
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Why Is the Suspect Photographed?
Suspects are photographed head-on and in profile. This photo, or series of photos, is called a “mug shot.” The pictures include the suspect’s height and the date and serve to identify the arrestee.
Law enforcement and victims can use the mug shot to identify criminal perpetrators or locate fugitives.
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What Happens to the Suspect’s Belongings?
Officers remove any weapons or contraband from the suspect’s possession. Sometimes, suspects must relinquish their clothes and put on a jail uniform. The suspect’s lawful personal property is secured and returned upon release.
Are Suspects Searched?
Those arrested for misdemeanors not including weapons, controlled substances or violence, or those charged with infractions must undergo over-the-clothes pat-down searches, but not strip searches, body cavity searches, or visual body cavity searches.
Penal 4030 codifies the limitations on strip and body cavity searches. If a strip or body cavity search is legally warranted, it must be pre-approved in writing by a supervising officer and performed by a member of the same sex. The search must occur in a private location, preventing anyone not participating in the search from observing.
Are Suspects’ Medical Conditions Addressed?
Suspects undergo a medical screening as part of the booking process. This screening ensures they receive any needed medical attention and are not a danger to law enforcement officers or other arrestees held in custody.
During booking, suspects may undergo chemical, blood, or urine tests. These tests may be needed to measure the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of a suspect arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or other evidentiary purposes.
Where Are Suspects Kept in Custody?
While awaiting trial or bail posting, suspects are put in a holding cell in a temporary detention facility. LAPD arrestees are generally held in the 77th Street Regional Jail.
Can Suspects Make a Phone Call?
Under California Penal Code 851.1, suspects are legally entitled to three phone calls immediately following their booking. Suspects must have access to these calls within three hours of their arrest. If the calls are within the local area, they come at no cost to the suspect.
If outside the local calling area, suspects must pay. The police department records these calls and can use these recorded conversations against the suspect.
It is in every suspect’s best interest to use these calls to secure legal representation from an experienced defense attorney. Suspects should not answer questions or offer any information about the alleged incident without a lawyer present.
When Is a Suspect Released from Custody?
“Bail” is the money arrestees pay for release from custody. It is a financial promise to the court to attend all required court appearances. In Los Angeles, most offenders are released on “OR” or their “own recognizance.”
The suspect is not required to pay the court, and the court trusts the suspect to attend all appearances. However, they may need to comply with other restrictions to avoid being returned to custody. These restrictions can include, but are not limited to:
- Travel restrictions or prohibitions
- Driving restrictions or prohibitions
- Attendance at treatment programs
- Electronic Monitoring
- Stay away orders
Only offenders arrested for serious or violent felonies can be held on bail. Under some circumstances, judges can deny suspects the right to bail.
In California, it is unconstitutional for suspects to be kept in custody only because they cannot afford bail. There must be convincing evidence that their detention is necessary for public safety.
How Much Is Bail?
Each California county has a “bail schedule” listing the bail required for different offenses. If suspects can pay the amount, they can post bail and be released from custody without going before a judge.
Offenders who post “cash bail,” meaning they pay with cash, money order, or check, will usually have their bail money returned at the close of their case as long as they attend every court appearance.
If offenders cannot afford to pay cash bail, they can post through a “bail bond.” A bail agent posts the offender’s bail for a non-refundable premium payment.
If You Have Been Booked, Call a Los Angeles Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested and booked for criminal charges, your first phone call should be to an experienced defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Criminal charges are serious and the consequences can be life-altering. Do not answer any questions or offer any information about the incident that prompted your charges.
You need an expert lawyer from Simmrin Law Group to be your voice, your advocate, and your protector.