Interviewer: What happened as a result in that case?
Gary Churak: We got it dismissed. On a lot of times on these domestic violence cases, if the complaining witness does not want to cooperate and if they’re not aggravated, we get the cases dropped and dismissed. That’s the benefit of hiring a lawyer. We can get in position to get these cases dropped with the right knowledge of the court system and how to make it work.
Interviewer: What if it was just an exchange of words that maybe you know, if a woman claims that she was threatened by the man?
Gary Churak: Threatening can be an offense. It could be a terroristic threat. “I’m going to kill you.” That could be a terroristic threat, which in itself is a crime. At this point in time it would depend on what was said and how it was said.
Interviewer: Why is it called a terroristic threat?
Gary Churak: That’s just the way the law is basically.
Interviewer: What determines whether an assault and a domestic violence charge is a first or second degree?
Gary Churak: There is no first or second degree. Basically an assault family violence, the first defense is a class-A misdemeanor, which can entail up to a year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. If there is choking involved and if there’s an allegation of choking, in other words that they claim you put your hands around their neck or his neck and obstructed breathing, it becomes a felony, a third-degree felony.
Then you’re looking at 2 to 10 years in prison. If it’s your second offense, in other words, you’ve had a prior family violence case; it also becomes a felony so it escalates quickly.