Jail booking codes are letters and numbers used by law enforcement to denote if a person is being charged with a felony, a misdemeanor or an infraction and to provide basic information about the offender. The type of charge is further broken down to indicate the specific crime the person is accused of committing, as explained by National Employment Screening.
A booking code informs what jurisdiction is handling the case, and whether it is a federal, state or municipal offense. The code also describes the severity of the crime; infractions are the least serious offenses and usually carry only a fine – traffic citations are an example of a common infraction. Misdemeanors are a more serious crime and may carry short jail terms as a penalty; drunk driving is an example of a typical misdemeanor. Felonies are the most serious class of crimes and can result in long jail terms. Examples include burglary, drug dealing and murder, according to Background Checks.
Other information contained in booking codes includes the date of the arrest, the agency handling the arrest, the arresting officer's name, and court dates and locations. The code also contains information describing the offender, such as gender, race and age, as described by Shelby County, Tennessee.