Articles by William Francis
How It Isn't Done
Anybody who grew up watching television will think they know what is supposed to happen when a person gets arrested for DUI. The police make a traffic stop. Then there is a flash of blinding light, and when the picture resolves, we see a mugshot of some hapless individual, holding up a sign with jail numbers.
Arrest and booking procedures have changed in Oregon.
Unless the police decide (or are required otherwise) to put someone in jail, a person who is arrested and taken into custody often won't get booked after an arrest. In many cases, the police leave the arrested person in the custody of a hospital or a private "detoxification facility." Police have the discretion to release a driver cited for DUI to a responsible sober person. Some are given a ride home. Most drivers who are arrested but not taken to jail are released without being "booked."
To get booked in Jackson County, you have to go to the Jackson County Jail. If you are out of custody, you will have to go see the court clerk at the Jackson County Justice Building and sign a release agreement before you go to the jail.
What Booking Is
Booking is a process in which a person in custody is taken to a jail, photographed, fingerprinted, and assigned a "state identification number."
Usually, the police move on after an arrest. Booking often doesn't happen until after a person's first court appearance.
When a person comes to court for a first appearance (the arraignment), the judge will direct the person to go the the clerk's window and sign a "release agreement," and to go then to the Jackson County Jail to be "processed."
Police almost never arrest or hold the people who come to the jail for booking. As soon as they have their pictures and fingerprints done, they go on their way.
Why It's Done
A law went into effect in 2016 puts the responsibility for booking DUI defendants on Oregon's courts and sheriffs' offices rather than the police who make the arrest. Somehow, it seems the police have gotten judges to do part of their job for them. The sponsor of this legislation, a Multnomah County judge, told me before this measure was enacted that he was interested in tracking the success rates and the recidivism rates of persons enrolled in various DUI treatment programs. He wanted these State Identification Numbers assigned for this purpose. In the meantime, however, the courts seem to have elevated the importance of the booking statutes to a strict, new level of data collection and compliance.
It is unknown to me if any data is being compiled locally that has something to do with the stated intent of this law, which was to collect data on the success of various local treatment programs.
The Official Oregon Booking Statute:
ORS 813.017 Arraignment; booking. When a person is arraigned on a charge of driving while under the influence of intoxicants in violation of ORS 813.010, a court shall ensure that the defendant submits to booking, if the person has not already been booked on that charge.
The courts have viewed their role in the booking process seriously. When a defendant comes to court the first time, the judge will tell the person to report to clerk's window and then the jail. There are clerks assigned to keep track of defendants who haven't been booked. If a defendant returns to court for a second appearance and hasn't been booked, the judges don't like it.
A person who needs to be booked will present a release agreement to the deputy at the jail window. Another deputy will take photographs and fingerprints. A "State Identification Number" will be assigned. This number and the information associated with it will be stored on federal and state law enforcement databases.
Many persons who are arrested for DUI resist the court's directions to get photographed, because they don't want their pictures on a mugshot website. On these websites, the photographs that are taken at the jail, and the charges filed against a criminal defendant, are public record. Deputies and court clerks have been trained to make it a priority to enter this information into government databases.
Additionally, the Jackson County Jail posts photographs of its inmates on the county website. These images go up immediately when an inmate is taken into custody. These photos are taken down almost immediately when a person is released from jail.
However, it is generally impossible to remove or delete images and files from data-gathering sites. Information and photographs posted on a particular public mugshot website may be removed with the agreement of the mugshot website operator.
The process of having a mugshot removed from a website (and the price of this "service") change frequently. There is virtually always a "fee" for having a mugshot removed from these sites. Recently, mugshot sites have posted links to one or another "mugshot removal" site. Proceed with caution. These cost money.
Of course, as you already know, once your mugshot is taken by a law enforcement agency, or has been posted online, it will be available on some server cache, somewhere, forever.
You Can Talk to Me
As you have gathered, there's usually not a lot I can do about the booking process or the mugshot situation. On the other hand, if you have been arrested or charged with a criminal offense, there is absolutely no rational reason to not discuss your case with a qualified, experienced legal specialist who can help you resolve your legal problems.
If you are being investigated or prosecuted in a criminal or DUI matter, you're welcome to call my office, at 541 773-4000. Lines are live from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.