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Criminal procedure


Following arrest, an accused person is taken into police custody and booked or processed at the jail or detention facility. This booking process varies from state to state, county to county, and in the federal system, but generally includes the following steps:

• Collection of Information—The accused person’s name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, place of employment, and other personal information is recorded, with information related to the criminal offense for which the defendant was arrested.

• Clothing and Personal Property Taken—The accused person will be given a jail uniform and their personal clothing articles and other personal property (wallet, phone, keys, purse) will be taken and held until they are released from jail—unless the accused’s clothing or personal property items may contain evidence of the crime, such as blood or DNA evidence, or property such as drugs or a knife, or electronic data on their phone or computer.

• Mug Shot—The accused person is photographed—usually from multiple angles, such as front and right and left profile—and their height is recorded.

• Fingerprinting and DNA Collection—An officer will place the accused’s fingers on an ink pad and roll the finger from side to side to capture all elements of the print on paper, or will capture the accused’s fingerprints electronically. The accused may also be required to submit a DNA sample (saliva swab, blood) depending on the nature of the crime and the jurisdiction.

• Health Screening—Booking officers may ask the accused health-related questions (diabetes, heart conditions, etc.) and conduct blood tests or X-rays to determine if the accused is in need of immediate health care.

• Full-Body Search—A full-body search or strip search requires the accused to remove all clothing for a visual search (and sometimes a body cavity search) that is designed to prevent weapons, drugs, or other contraband from entering the jail. These searches have generally been upheld by the courts when done for these purposes. See Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders, 132 S.Ct. 1510 (2012).

• Database Search For Outstanding Warrants—The booking officers may run a database search for outstanding warrants for the accused’s arrest in the same or other counties, states, or federal jurisdictions.

• Incarceration—Upon completion of these booking procedures, the accused will generally be placed in a holding cell or in the general jail population to await trial or the posting of bail.

Unless an accused person has been arrested for a very serious crime (murder) they can usually secure release from jail by posting bail or, for less serious offenses, by signing an agreement to show up for future court proceedings—known as release on own recognizance (ROR) or release on personal recognizance (PR).

In Texas, following an arrest, the accused is taken into custody and undergoes a booking process that includes the collection of personal information, confiscation of personal property, mug shots, fingerprinting, and possibly DNA collection. The nature of the crime may dictate whether DNA is taken. Health screenings are conducted to identify any immediate medical needs. A full-body search is performed to prevent contraband from entering the jail. The accused's information is checked against databases for outstanding warrants. After booking, the accused is typically held in a cell to await trial or the opportunity to post bail. For less serious offenses, the accused may be released on their own recognizance (ROR) or personal recognizance (PR), which involves a written agreement to appear in court without the need to post bail. The specifics of the booking process and pretrial release can vary by jurisdiction within Texas, but the general procedures align with federal standards and are designed to ensure the safety of the jail environment and the integrity of the criminal justice process.

Texas Statutes & Rules

Federal Statutes & Rules

18 U.S.C. § 3142 - Release or Detention of a Defendant Pending Trial
This statute is relevant as it outlines the procedures and considerations for the release or detention of a federal defendant after an arrest and during the pretrial period.

Under 18 U.S.C. § 3142, after an individual is arrested on federal charges, a judicial officer must determine whether to release or detain the defendant pending trial. The officer considers factors such as the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, the weight of the evidence against the defendant, the defendant's history and characteristics, and the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or the community that would be posed by the defendant's release. The statute allows for release on personal recognizance or unsecured appearance bond, release on conditions, temporary detention to permit revocation of conditional release, detention, or release of a detained person. The statute also provides for a hearing where the prosecution can argue for the defendant's detention, and the defense can argue for release on bail or other conditions.

18 U.S.C. § 3156 - Definitions for the Bail Reform Act
This statute defines terms used in the context of pretrial release or detention, which is relevant to the booking process and subsequent decisions regarding an accused person's custody status.

18 U.S.C. § 3156 provides definitions for terms used in the Bail Reform Act, such as 'judicial officer,' 'offense,' 'crime of violence,' 'drug offense,' 'felony,' 'federal offense,' and others. These definitions are crucial for understanding the application of the Bail Reform Act, including the criteria for release or detention pending trial, and the conditions that may be imposed on a defendant's release.

18 U.S.C. § 3563 - Conditions of Probation
This statute is relevant for defendants who are released on probation following the booking process and outlines the conditions that may be imposed during probation.

18 U.S.C. § 3563 specifies the conditions that a court may impose on a defendant who is sentenced to probation. These conditions can include requirements such as reporting to a probation officer, refraining from illegal drug use, submitting to drug testing, maintaining employment, and not possessing a firearm. The statute also allows courts to impose additional discretionary conditions to ensure the defendant leads a law-abiding life or to assist in the defendant's rehabilitation.

18 U.S.C. § 5031-5042 - Juvenile Delinquency
This set of statutes is relevant when the accused person is a juvenile, as it outlines the federal procedures and rights for juveniles in custody.

The Juvenile Delinquency Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 5031-5042, provides the framework for handling juveniles accused of federal criminal acts. It defines a 'juvenile' and a 'juvenile delinquent,' and sets forth the procedures for determining whether juvenile proceedings are appropriate or whether the juvenile should be tried as an adult. The Act also outlines the rights of juveniles in custody, such as the right to a detention hearing and the conditions under which a juvenile may be detained.

28 CFR Part 23 - Criminal Intelligence Systems Operating Policies
This regulation is relevant as it governs the operation of criminal intelligence systems, which may be used during the booking process to search for outstanding warrants or criminal history.

28 CFR Part 23 establishes the operating principles for federally funded criminal intelligence systems to ensure that law enforcement agencies operate these systems in a manner that protects privacy and constitutional rights. It includes guidelines for the collection, storage, dissemination, and review of criminal intelligence information. This regulation is pertinent when booking officers run database searches for outstanding warrants or criminal history as part of the booking process.

42 U.S.C. § 14135a - DNA Identification of Federal, Military, and Other Convicts
This statute is relevant as it authorizes the collection of DNA samples from individuals arrested, facing charges, or convicted of federal offenses, which may occur during the booking process.

42 U.S.C. § 14135a, also known as the 'DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000,' authorizes the collection of DNA samples from individuals who are arrested, facing charges, or convicted of federal offenses, as well as from certain non-U.S. persons who are detained under the authority of the United States. The statute outlines the procedures for DNA sample collection, analysis, and inclusion in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), as well as the circumstances under which a DNA profile may be expunged from the system.