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Look-Back Period For DUI in Virginia

Interviewer:  Within DUI, I’ve heard of something called the look-back period. If someone has a DUI from 10, 20, 30 years ago, would the next one be considered a second or a first?

Brian Geno: Well, they look back 10 years. If a prior DWI was more than that, it won’t matter and the new one would be considered a first DWI.  Additionally, if there was a DWI conviction less than 5 years ago, any penalty for that second DWI will be worse by law than if it was 5 to 10 years ago.If it’s more than 10 years, that one shouldn’t make any legal difference. As a matter of fact, the courts don’t even have certified copies of those convictions after 10 years.

Success Rate

Interviewer: Out of all the people you worked with, how often are you able to make some good impact on their case  reduce fees, mitigate jail time, get them a better result than they might have gotten on their own?

Brian Geno: Lots. I don’t have a number, but I would say that I give value all the time. I start out with the proposition that I should give value and that I want to give value. Although I can’t promise it, I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen. You get different judges, different prosecutors, different witnesses, different days, and things can go wrong. I’m giving them one assurance that it’s going to be better than it would be if they weren’t prepared. Then I’m going to do everything I can to try to move the ball in their favor, and I think I do. I think I do that most times. That’s what a good professional lawyer ought to do and obviously that’s what I want to do.

Private Attorney vs. Public Defender

Interviewer: How would you contrast your work as a private attorney versus a public defender’s work?

Brian Geno: If a person wants to a cheap lawyer or the free lawyer, I’m probably not the right lawyer for them because I’m not free and I’m not particularly cheap. My value in the legal community is not that I’m cheap or free. It’s that I’m experienced, that I work hard, that I care. I’m going to grab on like a pit bull and I’m going to hold on to the rights, the perspective, and the desires of my clients. I’m going to try to drag the case toward my client’s position. I want them to win.

People can go get cheap representation, but I really don’t think people come to my office because they want cheap. They come here because they want to fight. They want value. They want an intelligent defense. They want to leave at the end of the day saying, “I did everything I could think of, so if I walk away with a loss it won’t be because I didn’t defend myself. I’m not going to have any regrets when it’s over because I did everything I could.” That’s what I believe I give my clients. I know that there is a huge difference between me and the person who doesn’t get paid enough to care.

Interviewer:  Is there an administrative hearing in your state or is there not  just an aside?

Brian Geno: I know what you’re talking about. Some places like D.C. will have an administrating hearing on the license. That’s probably what you’re talking about.

Interviewer:  Is that what you guys have or not?

Brian Geno: It’s all held together in the courtroom, which is so much better. Virginia got that part of the process right when they decided to make the same judge responsible for the license. Now, DMV can do things to affect people’s driving privileges, and there’s no hearing at all for that. But, the judge has the authority to do all suspensions and restrictions related to a DWI.

Interviewer:  In almost every other state, you had this?

Brian Geno: Yeah.