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Book and Release Process in San Diego

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Vanessa Albert

Vanessa Albert

Book and Release Process in San Diego

The prospect of going to jail can be daunting and frightening not only for those facing criminal charges, but their loved ones as well. In certain cases where you are arrested for a misdemeanor charge, the arresting officer has the discretion to book you into custody or release you on a promise to appear in court at a later date. If the officer decides to cite and release you, you may be required to undergo a “Book and Release” once the case is resolved. For example, in certain DUI cases, an officer may decide to release you to a spouse or family member in lieu of taking you to jail for booking. If you are ultimately convicted of the DUI offense, you will be required to submit to the booking process because you were never formally booked into jail following the offense. You may also be ordered to report for a “Book and Release” if you were notified of the pending charges against you via a “Notify Letter.” Typically, the letter will inform you that a complaint has been issued and filed in San Diego Superior Court. The letter will also list the charges you are alleged to have violated, and typically includes the date and time you will be required to appear in court for your arraignment. The letter may state that it will be necessary for you to “submit to the booking process” on the date of your arraignment unless it has already been accomplished. As such, if you were never arrested or booked on the charges listed in the complaint, you should prepare for the possibility of a “Book and Release.”

What happens during the book and release process?

The book and release process generally entails reporting to a particular jail on a scheduled date and time (generally a weekend) where you will be fingerprinted, photographed, processed, and then released. During the booking process, you will be searched to make sure you are not in possession of any contraband. Make sure to check your pockets for any weapons (e.g., pocket or Swiss Army knives) or other forms of contraband (e.g., vape pens, non-prescribed medications). The jail staff will take your photograph (also known as a “mug shot”) and enter your personal information and charge(s) into their computer system. You should bring a photo ID as well as any court paperwork you have with you.  

Where do I report to?

In San Diego County, you will be ordered to report to either the San Diego Central Jail or the Vista Detention Facility if you are a male. For females, you will be ordered to report to the Vista Detention Facility or Las Colinas Detention Facility.  

How long will it take?

Depending on how busy the jail is, the process can last anywhere from ten minutes to a few hours, depending on how busy the jail is the day you arrive.  

Do I need an attorney for a Book and Release?

Depending on the case, you may be able to avoid the book and release process if your misdemeanor or felony charges are reduced to lesser charges, or dismissed altogether. It is highly advised that you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney that will be able to advise you on the best possible outcome of the case. If you or a loved one has received a notify letter discussing the possibility of submitting to the booking process, contact us immediately so we can assist you during this difficult time.

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