Interviewer: What would you say are the top misconceptions that people have about drug-related charges?
It Is a Mistake to Assume That Your Full Cooperation Will Aid You in the Outcome of Your Case
Brian Geno: Many of the misconceptions appear during the stop and arrest. Here’s how you will see it. A person is initially stopped for some reason by the police and the police are starting to suspect that something illegal has happened. One of the big misconceptions is that people will assume that if they talk to the police, if they share what they know, if they basically submit to the questioning or the searching that it will somehow help them. That never does.
I have never seen an occasion where a person consented to a search or agreed to talk to the police but because they talked or consented, the prosecution wouldn’t prosecute. They may have a more sympathetic tone or a more complaint attitude toward the person if the person was nice as opposed to uncooperative, but as far as talking or consenting to searches, that never helps. The typical person thinks that submitting to the police will prevent them from becoming angry and doing something horrible to them. The police use that sentiment to get their investigation done. They use that sentiment to get enough information from a person to steer the encounter and lock up the case. Police are generally jaded toward people, suspicious of them. They will spin what happened making it hard on a person. Don’t let that happen by remaining silent, and refusing to consent to a pre-arrest search. People have the misconception that by cooperating and making it really easy for the police, it will help. That’s wrong. That doesn’t happen.
All You End up Doing Is Making the Case Easier for Law Enforcement
Another common misconception is that people think if it’s their first offense, they’ve never had either a drug case or even other kinds of criminal cases that somehow the charge doesn’t have to be considered seriously. They feel they don’t have a lot at risk.
Don’t Underestimate the Situation: Even a First Offense Drug Charge Is a very Serious Matter
That’s just wrong because people are convicted for the first offense more often than the second offense. By that I mean there are more first offenses than recidivist people. There are more people who got charged the first time and get convicted simply because of the quantity of people who are charged for the first time.
A person just going by the numbers cannot assume that the first time has to go easy on them. It just doesn’t make sense to think that and there are a lot of things you can do the first time that you can’t really use the second time in your defense. That misconception is wrong and it should definitely be addressed by their attorney, up front.
Drug Charge Defense Is Not a Do It Yourself Project—the Right Attorney Is Critical to a Favorable Outcome
Another misconception would be that they can go to court and they can do things on their own that will cause the case to turn out well as opposed to contacting an attorney right away. That’s a misconception. Good attorneys almost always bring value to a case.