July 3rd 2013 | Comments

What to do and your rights if you are arrested

The Gentlemen’s Guide To Getting Arrested

Once in a while, a gentleman my find himself in the custody of the police. Whether it is for a serious crime, such as drunkenly knocking off an officer’s helmet outside the Drones Club; or something trivial such as gambling several billion pounds of some other blighter’s money on whether stocks in the Far East are likely to fall, it is all the same the same to the constabulary.

The first thing the gentleman must do on finding himself arrested is to act like a gentleman. Granted, this may be difficult if you have had a sherry too many at the Drones, and you have been cuffed while staggering around St James’s in no state for polite conversation. But the principle remains the same: Once you have been arrested, the constable isn’t going to change his mind. In fact, fighting it may simply make things worse for you.

what to do if arrested

Of course, we know this from bitter experience. One thing led to another, and a demonstration of our participation in the liberation of Kuwait – complete with a number of Challenger tanks – drew the attention of the forces of law and order to the streets of Central London in the wee small hours. Realising that we were well and truly nicked, the Colonel and I came quietly.

You will be taken to a police station, where you may be left in a cell until you are questioned. You will be offered free legal advice, or – if you are gentleman enough to have one – the chance to call in your own legal representation.

This is where many people who have been arrested go wrong. Gentleman or not, innocent or guilty, everybody is entitled to legal representation. A lot of people – knowing they are innocent – refuse legal help as they think it implies guilt. If there’s one time you need a legal expert, it’s when you are innocent of any crime. They’ve seen it all before, and will do their damnedest to get you out of there. Refusing help in a schoolboy error, to be frank.

Nowadays, if you have done something relatively trivial (up to and including the cold-blooded murder of a member of a foreign royal family), you may be offered a caution. Think about this carefully. Yes, you will be out of the police station within minutes and your ordeal will be over without the need and the expense of a court appearance. But you will also be admitting to a crime that you may or may not have committed, which will be on your record forever. If you have murdered a member of a foreign royal family in cold blood, however, we advise you to take the caution.

The police can hold you for 24 hours before releasing you, or having to apply for an extension. They also have the right to take photographs and collect DNA evidence. The gentleman will look his best for his mug shot, so ensure you have a stylist to hand who is available at short notice.

Once you are released, try to behave yourself. And if you want to try “I’m friends with the chief constable” gambit, whilst attempting a funny handshake, at least actually be friends with the chief constable, and belong to an organisation that uses funny handshakes. Otherwise, you’re headed for the slammer.

Gentlemen, in the main, do not go to the slammer.