How the Booking Process Works

If you have never dealt with any type of run-in with the law before then the protocol of arrests and the booking process would most likely be completely foreign to you. Whether it’s you or a family member, the entire experience can be overwhelming. But knowledge is power and we are here to guide you through what to expect with this quick rundown.

Recording the suspect’s name and the crime

When first detained and the booking process begins, the first thing that will be done is creating a record of the name of the defendant as well as what the charge is and details into what occurred. This information will be put in a database for reference in case future incidents occur.

Taking a mug shot

Probably the most well-known aspect of the booking process would be the infamous mug shot. This is where a defendant will be posed against a wall with their information to have physical proof of the person detained. This is done for the protection of both the defendant and law enforcement. It protects a defendant from being mistaken for someone with the same name and it protects law enforcement by having physical proof of the inmate so that excessive force or improper handling cannot be accused while detained.

Taking the persons clothing and possessions

When being booked an inmate must temporarily forfeit all their personal belongings including clothes. However, once released, those personal belongings (minus anything stolen or illegal substances) will be returned.


At this point, inmates fingers will be pressed in ink and then on paper to record their fingerprints. This is done so that a record can be put in a database that again, can be used as a reference in helping solve other investigations if need be.

Body search

Once Fingerprints have been taken, the next step is a full body search. To be as thorough as possible, the officers will request that all clothing is taken off so that the body can be searched for any and all types of weapons or drugs.

Checking for warrants

This is when an officer will do a check to see if the person being detained is in the database for any previous offenses ranging from unpaid tickets to various types of felonies, even murder. If something is found, then bail might not be an option and more severe charges could be brought forth.

Health screening

To keep the overall inmate population safe, a health search will be conducted to look for any types of infectious diseases that could put others at risk.

Asking about gang affiliations

This is done to see if any trouble will be had among the other inmates. Officers will usually try and separate rival gang members in order to “keep the peace” so to speak.

DNA Sample

And finally the last step is just a simple DNA sample. This is usually just a cotton swab and its done to enter into the database along with the other information obtained for reference.

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