Booking Process in Chatham County
If you or a loved one has been arrested in Chatham County, the police will collect your information in a process known as booking.
What Is Booking?
Booking creates an official record for one’s arrest. Every suspect processed in Chatham County undergoes booking, even if someone posts bail sooner than later or receives a citation instead of logging time in jail. Booking takes a few hours or longer, depending on what information is necessary, how many arrests the police are currently booking, and how many officers are involved in the arrest.
Steps in the Booking Process
- Mug Shot: First, the officer will record the suspect’s name and lists the charge for which he or she was arrested. Next, they take a mug shot, or a photograph of the suspect to be used as a visual reference; it can also be important during the trial as evidence of the suspect’s physical condition.
- Confiscation of belongings: The booking officer will take clothing and whatever items are in the suspect’s possession. They will be returned to him or her upon release from jail. Sometimes the confiscated property is important evidence in the suspect’s trial.
- Fingerprinting: During booking, an officer will take the suspect’s fingerprints. They are added to a database that’s available to law enforcement at a local, state, and federal level, as well as a reference for the FBI. This resource can be helpful for matching perpetrators from previous arrests or locating others involved.
- Full body Search: During one of the more uncomfortable aspects of the booking process, officers often conduct an inspection of the person taken into custody at the time of arrest to make sure suspects are not bringing drugs, weapons or other items into jail. The officer may enact a quick pat-down search or sometimes it can be more invasive. A full body search is legal, even for minor offenses.
- Background check: A police officer will conduct a background check on previous charges during booking. If a suspect has a minor infraction or more serious charges in other states, this information will likely affect the possibility of bail.
- Health Screening: Occasionally a health screening may be necessary and could include taking x-rays to detect tuberculosis or blood tests to verify STD’s. The goal of the health screening is to create a full picture of the suspect at the time of arrest; it’s also a precautionary measure to protect the health of police officials.
- Questioning: Law enforcement will want to know if the suspect has any current or former affiliation to gangs or relationships outside of jail. Questioning is part of an effort to minimize violence during incarceration. Often these interviews necessitate informing an arrestee of their Miranda rights.
- DNA Testing: The police may request DNA samples, which will be entered into a national database.
Has Your Loved One Been Incarcerated?
If you or someone you know has been booked into jail in Chatham County, time is of the essence. Contact the Turner Firm right away for a free review of your case to learn how we can help you.