After arrest, a criminal suspect is usually taken into police custody and "booked," or "processed." During booking, a police officer typically:
- Takes the criminal suspect's personal information (i.e., name, date of birth, physical characteristics);
- Records information about the suspect's alleged crime;
- Performs a record search of the suspect's criminal background;
- Fingerprints, photographs, and searches the suspect;
- Confiscates any personal property carried by the suspect (i.e., keys, purse), to be returned upon the suspect's release; and
- Places the suspect in a police station holding cell or local jail.
(Note: persons arrested for minor offenses may merely be given a written citation and released, after signing the citation and promising to appear in court at a later date.)
For criminal suspects who are placed in jail, the first priority is usually getting out. Except when very serious crimes are charged, a suspect usually can obtain pre-trial release through bail or "own recognizance" release.