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Finger Prints and Photos, Pre-Arrest

Can the police take my finger prints and my photo before they arrest me?

I am not sure the context of your question. I am thinking of two different questions. First, the police have told you they are going to arrest you and that you have to turn yourself in. However, you haven’t technically been arrested. The police mention to you that you must have your finger prints and photos done and if you wish you can have that done before you are formally arrested to save time in the process. You can yes or no to this question. I do not think the police can force you to do this before they actually arrest you. In addition, once you are with the police, if you are not free to leave, you may be technically under arrest, so they could take you for prints and photos before you actually get booked. In Philadelphia County, it happens simultaneously; in almost every other county it is a separate process.

The second question of which I am thinking is where you are being investigated, but not yet arrested for anything. You do not have to submit to any finger prints or photos pre-arrest in this scenario. However, the police are certainly allowed to investigate. The police can follow you and take your picture from surveillance. The police can follow you into a restaurant and try to lift your prints from a glass that you abandon on the table.

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