When it comes to getting booked in LA as far as a crime goes, this is a crucial distinction in the law, because once somebody is booked – and that means that the police are going to attempt to get the prosecutors – whether it be the City Attorney or District Attorney – to charge the person with a crime. Really the way that it works is, the police get their hands on somebody. They bring them into the police station. If they decide that they're going to book them, then their fingerprints are taken; their palm prints are typically taken. They are probably put in a DNA database. A lot of these law enforcement agencies – which I think is impermissible – sometimes try to take people's DNA, their photographs, so now there's a record of the person being booked for a crime in Los Angeles and that's the type of record that's very difficult – if not impossible – to get off your record.
So, when it comes to booking, that's kind of the dividing line between there being a record of you coming through the police station and there being no record of it. A lot of times what happens is prosecutors get their hands on a case. They look at it. They decide not to file any charges. So, as long as the person wasn't booked by the police there's going to be no record of a crime. If the person was booked by the police in Los Angeles then there are other things that can be done in order to avoid having that record, but it just depends on the circumstances. There are now mechanisms now in place that have recently been passed, that if you're booked and the prosecutors don't file a charge against you, then you can attempt to get that booking out of there.
A lot of times also what I see is that a person comes in contact with the police and the police cite them into court and they don't arrest them. They don't book them, so there's no record. The prosecutors and judge realize that, and they make that part of any resolution that the person has to go in and get booked which is kind of a borough because now they're going to get a record and it's going to go into the DOJ database showing them getting booked. Depending on what you get booked for – you could get booked for a serious crime and, in reality, you really weren't good for that and you end up with some lesser crime or even a dismissal, but that booking is still there.
The Booking Process In LA
The booking process in LA can be really easy if the police are cooperative, but sometimes the police are not cooperative, and they make the booking process hard. I have people – especially in the Orange County Jail system – go in for a simple booking. All they have to do is take your picture and take their fingerprints and let them go, and they keep them in there overnight. But, typically in Los Angeles County as far as booking goes, you're usually going to be in and out of there. You get proof that you got booked and you're done, or the police arrest you, they book you and they allow you to post a bail, or even sometimes they can arrest you, book you and cite you out.
So, the booking process in LA is an interesting one. There are all kinds of different things going on, and this is one thing that I'm good at doing – having done this for twenty-five years – once the police get their hands on somebody – trying to track the person and figure out when they're going to court, what they're getting booked for, what they're bail is going to be – is not always the easiest thing. So, you want to get a skilled attorney on your side right from the beginning if you've been booked or processed for a crime, or a loved one of yours is in the process of being booked for a crime – you have to get a lawyer in there right away. A lot of times, if it's the right case, I'll go in and try to talk to the person while they're in custody, so they don't say anything that can incriminate themselves.
So, if you've been booked for a crime, it's imperative that you get a great criminal defense attorney by your side that can preserve your rights, your freedom, your reputation. I get you in, we talk about it, you're going to come see the person in custody and we go over everything, or they come to my office after they bail out or have been cited out and we go over what our strategy is going to be and try to make the moves that are right for you or your loved one so they are in the best possible position when it comes to being booked in Los Angeles. And remember, just because you get booked for a crime in LA doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get charged for the crime. The prosecutors who are the lawyer like me – they have to look over the case. They have to see whether or not the police have actually done their job, done a proper investigation, have the evidence necessary to charge a person with a crime.
So, there's a lot of people out there who have been booked for a crime in LA and they never get any crime filed against them. Either the police ultimately let them go because some higher-level police officer realizes they have no evidence on the person, or the prosecutors get their hands on it. They review it and they realize – you know what – we're not filing this case. We'll never be able to prove it. A good defense attorney is going to take us apart.