Interviewer: What’s the common emotional response? When you get people, are they angry? Are they afraid? What comes into your office, mentally? Do you see that different kinds of people view being arrested differently? Like, do men versus women or older versus younger have different perceptions of it?
Brian Geno: They’re almost always afraid of the consequences. They’re almost all telling me, “Oh, this is my first offense,” and they think that everything is going to turn out right because after all it’s their first, but it’s almost everyone’s first. It doesn’t really get them off. First, they’re afraid. I don’t get a lot of people who are just proud enough to say, “Oh, this is totally unfair,” because they almost always know they were drinking and they were driving. Many people think that that’s enough for a conviction. Just to have drunk and then to have driven, they think that’s enough.
They’re usually very humble about coming in and afraid because they know they very well could be convicted, but they don’t know what it’s going to mean if they are. They don’t know how it will turn out or anything like that. That’s where coming in to speak to a lawyer, speak to me, is a huge relief to them to find out exactly what they’re facing. Even if it’s bad news, to know what you’re facing is great news because all of a sudden the certainty is there. The uncertainty is gone. That helps a lot.
Pleading Guilty to a DUI is not a Good Idea
Interviewer: Do you have people that say, “Hey, I drank and I drove. I’m guilty. Maybe I should just come up and plead guilty”? What do you say to those people?
Brian Geno: The first thing I tell those people is, “Okay, let’s make that the last time you say that, because from now on we’re going to be trying to put together a defense and that takes rigorous work. We have to think about how we can win. If we’re going to lose, we shouldn’t go down easily. Instead, we’re going to do everything we can to put together a defense. Let’s not worry about the losing part for a while.”
That usually helps people to feel much better because they know I mean it when I say, “We’re going to fight. We’re going to either win or we’re going to go down swinging. Either way, we’re going to give it our best shot.” That’s what I tell people right off the bat when they tell me they’re guilty.
The second thing I tell them is, “We’re going to challenge two things. We’re going to challenge all the facts related to why they stopped you. Then we’re going to challenge the chemistry involved in the test.” I tell them that there are a lot of ways to fight a case based on little technical things they didn’t think of that can result in winning. It happens. It really does happen.
One of the reasons a person gets stopped is because the police officer thought they appeared drunk, not just because they actually were drunk. I’m going to challenge why the police officer thought that, and I’m going to challenge whether the police officer had the intent to make an arrest despite factors in my client’s favor. Police don’t trust that people are trying to do right, trying to be honest. Rather, they believe that people are out there doing the wrong thing and are willing to lie about it. That is an unfair bias. I want to challenge that notion. When we go to court, I’m going to put it out there and I’m going to make the judge at least consider the fact that that police officer, the prosecutor’s position, is wrong.