Interviewer: What kind of typical scenario leads to the arrest and charges of domestic violence?
Attorney Churak: Essentially, either one party in a dispute or a neighbor calls the police. The police arrive and if the police show up, somebody’s going to jail, which is a fairly routine result, especially out here in San Antonio.
If the police are called for any kind of family disturbance, somebody’s going to automatically go to jail. It could be any family situation. It could be an argument with your wife, your girlfriend, and somebody pushes somebody, somebody grabs somebody, or even a mutual combat situation, it doesn’t matter basically. The police will let the courts sort it out and they will take one party to jail.
Interviewer: Do you have situations where the police come and the, let’s say, husband and wife say, “No, no, we’re fine, we weren’t fighting, everything’s cool”?
Attorney Churak: Yes, especially because the majority of the police calls are from one of the spouses in a dispute. They’ll call the police just because they want the other spouse out of the house.
They don’t want them to go to jail. Many times because there may be some kind of emotional issue or the other spouse has had a little too much to drink, or a scenario similar to that. They’ll call the police but they don’t want the spouse to go to jail.
They just want the police to come on over and then they find out that’s not exactly the best way to go about having the other spouse removed from the home. As I mentioned, in our area, somebody’s going to go to jail regardless if you intend it or not. That happens quite often, where the person doesn’t want the other individual really to go to jail, but they wind up going to jail.
Interviewer: Do the police have to follow a mandate that one party will be arrested in a domestic dispute?
Attorney Churak: Yes+, basically, they are operating on the premise that if we’re coming out for family violence, we’re not going to leave that situation in the household; we’re going to just take somebody in.
Interviewer: When the police come, do they have any discretion?
Attorney Churak: They have to take them. It’s policy. It’s police department policy. I don’t know if the officers have discretion. It just seems to me that if they show up, somebody’s going to jail.