I was recently involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, since it was my first accident, I was scatter-brained and anxious. What I did not realize at the time was that the actions you take immediately after the accident can affect a personal injury case and the outcome of that case. I wanted to find a way to share my experiences and mistakes with other. Since the Internet is so popular, I figured this would be a great way to do so. While you likely aren't planning on being in an accident soon, if you are, hopefully you remember some of the tips I share on this website.
You may wonder what it is like to be booked into jail or "processed" as they call it, after being arrested. There are a series of things you would have to go through—most of which aren't too horrible—and here are some things you should be aware of.
Identification, Mug Shot, and Check For Warrants
First they will get your personal information such as your name and address. At some point during processing, they will also do a check to see if you have any outstanding warrants anywhere. They will also take mug shots of you and this is to make sure you won't be confused with someone else that has your same name, for police records to recognize you if they look for you in the future, and they could be as evidence that you weren't roughed up too badly by the police.
Confiscation of Personal Items
All your personal items will be taken from you and stored away until you are bailed/bonded out or released. You may be issued a voucher that has a detailed list of what was taken and acts as a receipt, but you can ask for one if it is not offered to you. If the receipt is incomplete or inaccurate, you should not sign it, and it may be of some use to you even if you don't to get some of your stuff back.
Of course, you shouldn't expect to get any illegal items back and they could be used as evidence against you. They may even bring you additional charges. Additionally, some valuable items may be taken in asset forfeiture, so that you may have to go to a civil proceeding to try to get them back.
Fingerprinting And Taking Of DNA Sample
You will be fingerprinted and the officer will roll each finger to get a complete print. Then they might take a swab and get a DNA sample from the inside of your mouth. These things will end up on police computer databases and are available to police and FBI all over the U.S. to compare with evidence from other crimes.
Full Body Search
You could be required submit to an intimate person search. You would be searched for contraband or weapons even if the crime you were arrested was not violent or serious. How invasive this can be is often up to the jail procedures and state law. This should be done by an officer of the same sex as you, and there will probably be another officer present.
Health Screening and Questioning That Is Pertinent To Jailing
To prevent the spread of disease and to promote a safer environment, you would be subjected being x-rayed and blood tested to make sure you don't have tuberculosis or a venereal disease. You will be asked questions about any gang affiliations, health problems, and prescribed medications, and any psychological problems you may have, and the responses to these things could determine where you are placed in the jail.
Free Phone Call
After you are processed, you would be allowed a phone call. You should know that it is likely to be monitored and eavesdropping is a given in jail.
General Things to Know
Even though you might be nervous and prone to prattling on, resist that urge because you could inadvertently incriminate yourself this way. Keep in mind that anything you say might affect how the prosecutor handles your case and could also be used at trial. It is wise to be quiet, respectful, and compliant throughout the whole process to avoid any problems with a harried officer.
After processing you could go before a judge for a bail determination hearing that day (or in the next couple of days if your arrest was on a holiday or on the weekend). A lawyer may be appointed for you at this time if you can't afford a lawyer. Otherwise, you should hire one (such as one from Gomez May LLP) as soon as possible if the charge is a serious one, and you will want to consult them before submitting to police questioning.