Anatomy of a DUI: Processing at the Jail or Detention Facility & What is Next

Anatomy of a DUI: Processing at the Jail or Detention Facility & What is Next

Booking into Jail or Release for ArraignmentAfter submitting (or refusing) to a breath or blood test the officer will decide whether or not you will be booked into jail or released with an order to


Booking into Jail or Release for Arraignment

After submitting (or refusing) to a breath or blood test the officer will decide whether or not you will be booked into jail or released with an order to appear in court.  In almost every breath testing instance where the results are .04 or more, you will likely be booked.  If the officer suspects drugs in your blood or you are admitted to the hospital, you will likely NOT be booked because there are no results of the test immediately available to the officer. Once you are booked the officer will turn you over to the custody of the jail staff.

Being booked into jail is often one of the worst experiences in a person’s life.  It is stressful, shameful, nerve-wracking, and at times very dehumanizing.  Depending on the facility it may also be dirty and physically uncomfortable.  However, it is still important to maintain your silence regarding the events leading up to your arrest – the jail guards are law enforcement officers and are happy to share any good information they learn with the arresting officer and/or prosecutors. As a result, REMAIN silent unless answering questions necessary for your health and well-being.

Be polite, but do not offer information other than what is necessary for identification, classification, and safety. Be cooperative.  Those labeled uncooperative are typically described as being uncooperative due to being highly intoxicated.  You may be upset, mad, distressed, and reasonably so, but regardless of the reason, it means only one thing in the DUI context.  Also, uncooperative people are treated “differently” by the jail staff.  During the booking procedure you will be given jail clothes, have your fingerprints taken and you will have a booking photograph or “mug shot” taken by the jail staff.  Your name will be entered into a jail roster.  That jail roster is published on-line and will appear within a day or two.  Anyone doing a search for |Bellingham DUI | or |Whatcom DUI| are any search so related will have access to the information.  There is nothing that can be done about this, except follow the best advice to avoid a Bellingham DUI: Don’t drink and Drive.  As jails can obviously be intimidating places some jail officers may give you advice on what to expect and some customs you may want to observe.  It can be a good idea to make use of this advice.

You will remain in jail until either you see a judge, are released upon a set level of sobriety (some jails frequently administer Portable Breath Tests to inmates to determine whether they are ‘sober’ enough to be released), or until you or somebody you know can post a preliminary amount of bail.  The Whatcom DUI jail policy is to keep arrested citizens until they register .04 or lower on a portable device.  Once this level is reached the release procedure begins.  It takes about 2 hours to be released.  You will then be walked out the front door and left to deal with the events that have just transpired.

Upon your release, you will be given a court date.  It is very important to contact a competent and caring criminal defense DUI attorney to help you.  Your case has already begun and each step you take, no matter how big or small, is important.

DUDE! Where Is My Car?

Upon release from the custody of jail, you should be supplied with paperwork that details which company towed your vehicle and the contact information.  Not all tow companies are created equal and tow, impound and storage fees differ from company to company.  Needless to say, you will have to pay their ransom in order to get your vehicle back.  Because your vehicle was impounded and fees were assessed you are entitled to a judicial hearing to determine whether there was the required probable cause to impound the vehicle in the first place. While this is a good right to have, it requires thought and strategy to decide whether the hearing is worth it (this is not to a hearing to be confused with the DOL Licensing Hearing). There is a 10-day window to request this Impound Hearing.  Immediate consultation with a dedicated, local, and knowledgeable DUI lawyer is of the utmost importance.

Each court sets its fee for a civil impound hearing and you must request the hearing within ten days of the impound. As the officer is often required to be present at an impound hearing you may want to discuss challenging the impound with your attorney. As time is of the essence contact an attorney as soon as you can after your arrest.