Interviewer: Why would it be advantageous to hire an attorney to defend a theft charge even though it’s minor? How can it affect them?
Brian Geno: First they ought to have counsel because an attorney knows how to fight the case. An attorney knows what a person’s rights are. Those rights are not always obvious to the regular citizen. Everything from why did the police stop you to begin with. Once the police stopped you how much control did they assert over you? Once they have asserted control over you what did they say or what did they do while that was happening? What did you do in response to that authority? Those things don’t always seem to be connected to the theft. They seem to be just a bad experience while the cleanup of the theft is happening.
A Person Doesn’t Realize that Those Are All Critical Issues Which Could Get Their Case Dismissed.
They don’t have anything to do whether a person stole something or not. If I, for example, was being questioned by police about what happened and I was brow beaten and I was forced to stay where the police could find me and I was held, essentially, against my will while I was being questioned, that can definitely get the case dismissed. Not because I did it or didn’t do it, but because the questioning itself was done in a way where it was without my consent and I wasn’t given the proper legal consideration while it was happening.
The Legal Process is Complex and Not Something That a Layman Would Understand
It’s something that a regular person wouldn’t understand. Even if you’ve read a little bit or seen a little bit on YouTube, trying to figure out how to be that rebel in society, how to fight the police, it really takes a lot more know how than that. Additionally if you try to fight and you get taken into trial, that is you have to put on the case and prove you’re innocence, you stand the real risk of losing simply because you don’t think you have any hope of winning. You think you’re going to lose. You don’t question the right places. You don’t look for the right documents. You don’t ask the right stuff. Those are all things that can really, really help you.
Retaining Competent Legal Counsel Can Make A Huge Difference in the Outcome of a Case
My strong advice to someone who is charged with anything from petty larceny all the way up to grand larceny is to seek counsel and utilize that process. It can really, really make a difference. I’ve seen things happen that would shock a normal person. People that looked so obviously caught in their tracks committing a crime and then they win. You could have never predicted it in advance, but because they had counsel it happened.
It is Highly Advisable to Refrain from Giving Statements to the Police in the Absence of an Attorney
Interviewer: Any more tidbits or any bit of advice you’d want to give readers feel free to do so.
Brian Geno: It is always a good idea, when you have interaction with the police, to not talk to them. If you’ve been charged with a crime, even if you feel bad about it, it is better not to talk to the police. When I say don’t talk to police I really mean it. Don’t talk to them. You can either give them your driver’s license or tell them your name, but stop there. What they say is trying to get you to confess to a crime. They are trying to get you to confess to little details that would make a difference to them, but would all harm you. Some of those facts seem so innocent that you may answer just because you think it doesn’t matter. When, in fact, those details could be, without you knowing it, an essential part of their win against you. If you want to help the police punish you, if you want to help the police to convict you then go ahead and answer questions of any kind. If you want to help yourself don’t answer any questions at all when police or loss prevention officers ask questions about anything that they suspect you did wrong. Don’t talk to them. That will help a lot.