The drill as I generally know it:
• Frisk for weapons
• Into the backseat
• Miranda warnings - a brief speech, or handed a card to read; I did have one cop say, “And you know all that bulls**t about rights.”
• Transport to jail, listen in on cop radio
• Arrive at intake center, more in-depth search, personal items (wallet, belt, glasses, watch, etc.) removed and inventoried, handcuffs removed, placed in holding tank, shoot the sh*t with cellmates and wait to be booked
• If neccesary, breathalyzer
• Called out to booking; give personal info to the data cop, get fingerprinted, smile and say “Cheese.”
• The trail trifurcates here – you may just go to a holding cell, if a detective or investigating officer wants to talk to you, you may be escorted to an interrogation room, or, if they’ve decided to charge you, you may be taken to a hearing before a judge.
• One way or another, you wind up back in the jail’s cellblock, possibly in a cell or possibly in another holding tank
• Now’s the time for phone calls. You may be escorted, upon asking, to a phone in the holding center. One place (New Orleans) just had a payphone in the holding tank. I had one quarter and got my lawyer’s numb-nut 15 year old punk rocker babysitter who wouldn’t take a collect call
• Depending on how long it takes to get you sprung, you may get to sample jail cuisine. My experience has been that they desire that you not die of starvation, and will thus provide the minimum bologna sandwich (mayo? who you kiddin’?). The food gets better the deeper you get into the system
• Your phone calls get you out of the place. I was never in a place where I could use the phone and see the bail bondmans’ signs at the same time. And, I just never mustered up enough dedication to criminal life to memorize the numbers beforehand. Anyway, I did wind up using them a couple of times – once I called a lawyer who set it all up, and once I called a relative - that time the bondsman’s representative met me right outside of Property (where you have to sign a receipt for your personal property before you’re allowed to see what they haven’t stolen). He wanted me to sign some additional guarantees.
• This almost never happened to me, but at the time of my most regular visits to local lockups, it was common knowledge that if you couldn’t muster bail in 48 hours or less, you were going to County. County was called a jail, but it was somewhere between a nightly lockup and a prison.
Anyway, it’s been decades since I worried about any of this. But it happens.