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How the 2013 Family Law Act Affects Domestic Assault Charges

On March 18 of 2013, the BC Family Law Act came into effect for the Province, and has since had a number of different impactson domestic assault charges, so it is worth being aware of what may have changed.

Definition of domestic violence

Domestic assault charges are brought against an individual when there have been threats or allegations of violence between family members, and the police have sought to bring charges against an individual.

The definition of domestic violence can cover any form of abusive or violent behaviour which occurs between two people who have been an intimate relationship. The most common examples of this are within marriage and immediate family.

Domestic assault charges not only happen during the relationship, but they can also occur after the relationship has ended, which is not entirely uncommon.

While some domestic violence is clear-cut,like physical violence against an individual, mental abuse,such ascontrolling, or intimidating behaviour, name-calling and isolation can be less obvious.

Seeking a lawyer’s advice

If you are implicated in domestic assault charges then understanding the impending process is integral to knowing how best to act, so contacting a lawyer as soon as possible should be at the top of your agenda.

If you have previously been involved in domestic assault charges, then it may be useful to note the following information on the Family Law Act, which came into effect in 2013.

Question: Have existing court orders, or agreements changed?

If you have an existing agreement, or court order, then this would not have changed due to the Family Law Act. You are also not able to re-apply to change the order or agreement solely because of the new law that was brought in.

Question: Are restraining orders taken out before the new Family Law Act came into effect still valid?

You will remain protected with any existing restraining order under the new Family Law Act, but depending on the circumstance, it may be that applying for a new family law protection order will provide better protection under the new Family Law Act.

Further questions

There are a number of other questions that you may have stemming from the Family Law Act of 2013 relating to domestic assault charges, in which case it is best to read up on the act itself and consult a lawyer for further assistance.

What Qualities to Look for in a Criminal Lawyer in Vancouver

When you need to hire a criminal lawyer in Vancouver, you want to make sure that you are getting the best lawyer out there. Certain qualities are often found in successful criminal lawyers, not just in Vancouver, but all over the world.  These qualities and skills are something you should look out for when searching for a criminal lawyer in Vancouver, to ensure you get the best defence possible.

Local Education

A lawyer cannot represent you unless her or she is certified so naturally having the right education and qualifications is key. However, it is also extremely useful if they went to law school locally and have experience dealing with the local legal system, especially the criminal law system. John Buchanan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of British Columbia, so he is an expert when it comes to criminal law in Vancouver.

Experience in Different Criminal Law Cases

Criminal lawyers in Vancouver become successful when they have experience representing many different types of cases. This means that they can handle whatever is thrown at them and you know that they have the ability to take on difficult and unusual trials. John Buchanan is a criminal lawyer in Vancouver with experience with assault, fraud, theft, shoplifting, driving charges and marijuana-related crimes.

Free Consultation

You shouldn’t have to pay to see if a criminal lawyer is right for you and your case. Good criminal lawyers in Vancouver will offer a free first consultation and talk with you about how they could represent your case and give you an idea of the costs involved.  This will give the criminal lawyer a chance to show you his or her qualifications and experience and allow you to make a decision. Feel free to talk to a few lawyers to see who you feel might best represent your case.

Recent Success

You can ask to see a list of recent success for a criminal lawyer in Vancouver. If you see a similar case to yours on this list, then you might be in luck and have the perfect criminal lawyer in Vancouver for you. If not, but you see a high number of successes, you know that this criminal lawyer in Vancouver will be a good candidate to represent you successfully.

Questions to Ask a Potential Criminal Defence Lawyer

If you have a court case coming up, or have recently been arrested for a criminal offence, then it is so important that you have the right criminal defence lawyer. A criminal defence lawyer will defend you in a court of law against the accusations made against you.

The right criminal defence lawyer could mean the difference between a fine and a prison term. Choosing one is not always easy, especially if you have never been in this situation before and know very little about the legal system. If this sounds like you, remember that there are questions you should be asking your potential criminal defence lawyer if you are looking to hire them. These will give you a better indication of whether or whether not they are the right criminal defence lawyer for you.

What are your qualifications?

Every lawyer in BC is required to have a degree in law. This means that they have studied the subject for a number of years at a recognized university and have passed all relevant exams and been admitted to the bar. To have done this means that they are a qualified criminal defence lawyer and can legally and competently defend you in a court of law.

How many years have you practiced law?

This is a reasonable question to ask. Somebody who has worked as a criminal defence lawyer for many years will probably be extremely good, as they keep getting clients. This however could make them costlier than other criminal defence lawyers. Junior criminal defence lawyers will not have as much experience in court, so will probably be cheaper. It is up to the defendant what they want to and can choose in this situation, but experience is likely to result in a better outcome for you.

Have you represented a case like mine before?

This is another good question to ask a possible criminal defence lawyer. If they have experience in this area, then they may be a good choice, depending on their success rate. If they have, it probably means that they know this law that you have been accused of breaking quite well and they know how to defend you when it comes to it. A criminal defence lawyer with experience in an area that you need can be an invaluable asset and you will feel more assured knowing that they are competent in this particular area of the law as a criminal defence lawyer.

The Aspects to Consider When Hiring A Criminal Lawyer In Vancouver

When hiring a criminal lawyer in Vancouver, there are a number of different aspects that you need to consider. Even if you believe that the prosecution does not have a strong case against you, not investing in a good quality criminal lawyer in Vancouver can have devastating effects.

Particularly so in a competitive job market, where an increasing number of jobs are requiring criminal record checks and a clean background, ensuring that there is nothing recorded on yours can besignificant for your future.


One of the first aspects to consider when hiring a criminal lawyer in Vancouver, is ensuring that they have the right expertise for the case.

Depending on what type of criminal charge you are facing, you should attempt to hire a lawyer who has the necessary expertise in that area.Many lawyers will specialize in a certain area of law and, by doing your research, you can find one that has a history in dealing with similar cases to yours.


Choosing an experienced lawyer is similar to picking one with expertise, and is highly recommended.

An experienced criminal lawyer in Vancouver, while they may be costlier than a less seasoned lawyer, is a much preferred choice. You will be thanking yourself come court day, when you are standing, reassured, next to your best choice of defence.

Value for Money

Combining expertise, experience and value for money can be a difficult task, particularly if you are working on a limited budget. Doall you can to stretch your budget, as a better quality criminal lawyer in Vancouver is almost always worth the expense, or you may be left to rue your decision.


Lastly on our list of aspects to consider, is the locality of the criminal lawyer in Vancouver. While you may find a cheaper option that is tucked away in a suburb on the other side of the city, it is worth taking a minute to think logically about the practicalities of this arrangement.

If you need to suddenly make an appointment, or are currently working, then ensuring that you have the necessary travel time free in order to get to and from the office can end up being a considerable pain.

Try to balance expertise, experience and locality with the value for money of their services and all of this combined should allow you to find the right criminal lawyer for you.

Facing a Drunk Driving Case? How A Criminal Defence Lawyer Can Help

If you are facing a drunk driving charge then the first thing that you will need to do is to become aware of the acute situation that you are in, and what services a criminal defence lawyer can offer you.

If you are convicted of a drunk driving charge then it can have widespread and lengthy repercussions, as we are about to point out in this article, so acting promptly and effectively is vital.

Before a criminal defence lawyer is able to assist, you will need to find the papers that the police issued you, as this will advisewhat type of case you are facing, and therefore what your options are.

Different types of drunk driving cases

There are a number of different drunk driving cases that exist in British Columbia law, so familiarizing yourself with these is a smart idea.

The three different types of cases are an Administrative Driving Prohibition, Criminal DUI, or most commonly, an Immediate Roadside Prohibition, also known as an IRP.

The easiest way to identify if you have been issued with an IRP is that it will have the letters “IRP” written on the paper in the top right hand corner, with a reference number next to it starting with 21.

The important and reassuring thing to note if you have been issued with an IRP is that it does not affect your criminal record, and is not a criminal charge. It is simply an administrative suspension that affects your driving recordand you may appeal if you desire.

Issued with an IRP? Act fast

If it is indeed an IRP that you have been issued with, then time is of the essence as you only have 7 days to file a dispute, if you wish for it to be taken to a hearing.

This is where the expertise of a reputable criminal defence lawyer comes in to play, as they are able to provide advice and guidance on whether you have a case for appeal or not. If the criminal defence lawyer is happy to take on the case and advises to challenge, then work can be started straight away on your defence.

If you have been implicated by a non-IRP related driving charge, or are still unsure on what type of drink driving case you are facing, then you should seek a criminal defence lawyer’s advice immediately for assistance.

Criminal Driving Law Watch: Supreme CourtUpholdsRule On Automatic Roadside Prohibitions

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Friday October the 16thto uphold the rights of provinces to impose their own drunk-driving laws, which has affected at least two separate cases, both heard on the 19th of May.

The ruling revolves around British Columbia’s use of automatic and instantaneous roadside licence suspensions for drivers who fail breathalyzer tests. Under the current system, vehicles can also be impounded on the spot, but opponents and defendants argued that this is an unconstitutional practice.

The verdict is likely to be big news in the criminal driving law spectrum, and is of particular interest to the insurance providers that are involved, as any ruling against the use of BC provincial legislation would have had a sizable effect on them.

One of the appealcases that was decided following the ruling was that of man named Richard James Goodwin, who did not provide a ‘suitable’ breath sample after being stopped by the police back in 2011. Goodwin, on the spot, had his car impounded for 30 days and was prohibited from driving for 90 days.

In Goodwin’s initial ruling, the court did not side with his argument that the British Columbia system of automatic roadside prohibition, also known as ARP, was beyond its permitted powers as part of the 1867 Constitution Act. As part of his defence, it was argued that the ARP system was beyond the power of the province, but it was ultimately unsuccessful.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada, who deals in criminal driving law, argued against Goodwin, suggesting that the use of ARP was legitimate and fell within the boundaries of the province’s jurisdiction in regards to highway safety. It also advised that this could have a broad impact on criminal driving law in Canada, with knock-on effects for traffic safety if the appeal had been successful.

Along with Goodwin, there were an additional 5 other motorists in British Columbia who were appealing their court rulings, with a further person initially lodging an appeal, before later withdrawing. Last Friday’s ruling has already decided Goodwin and the other drivers’ cases, as the supreme court of Canada, which is the highest court in the country, agreed to uphold the rights of the provinces.

This is good news for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, who had warned of possible increased road collisions and greater unpredictability in assessing risk, if the decision was not upheld.

British Columbia Moving Traffic Violations Out Of Court

The liberals in British Columbia have been working behind the scenes to move traffic violations out of court, in a move which looks to upset residents and criminal defence lawyers in Vancouver alike.

Confirming, back in April 2015, that phase 1 is underway to bring in an electronic ticketing system, along with an online payment process, the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety has not set an exact date when the initiative will be finalised.

This is big news, particularly for criminal defence lawyers in Vancouver, as they see this is an alarming piece of legislation which makes it easier for the police to issue fines. There is a real concern, highlighted by one criminal defence lawyer in Vancouver, that this provincial legislation may be encroaching on, or even conflicting with the constitutional rights of British Columbia’s residents.

One of the main changes under the amended law is that when a motorist is stopped, they are not issued with a physical written ticket, and are instead issued with the electronic equivalent. This electronic ‘driving notice’ is then logged to your driving licence until the fee has been paid.The proposed plan makes the disputing process a three part operation, where they are given an incentive to plead guilty, such as a reduction in the fine if they pay before a designated date.

A top criminal defence lawyer in Vancouver has argued that this is designed to coerce people into pleading guilty, by allowing them to pay early for a reduced amount of money. If this is not accepted then the next step of the process would be to go before a driving notice review board.

Before you are seen by the court, you must submit all evidence, which can be done with the help of a criminal defence lawyer in Vancouver, who will be able to help defend you against the charge.

One of the acrimonious changes is that the police officer who issued the ticket, after submitting the evidence, is not required to attend the hearing. The legislation also indicates that the police officer is not required to submit any more than the ticket itself as evidence, and if the board upholds the fine then there is no way to appeal or seek a judicial review.

This raises worrying questions over the right to a fair trial, and whether the ticket itself is enough evidence to be found guilty.

Traits to seek in a criminal defence lawyer

If you find yourself in a legal predicament and you require the advice of an expert, the first thing you should do is to find a suitable criminal defence lawyer, whom you can trust. However, it can be difficult to find the best criminal defence lawyer; many people do not know what they should expect from their lawyer. Read on for a helpful guide on what you should expect and receive from an excellent criminal defence lawyer.


An excellent criminal defence lawyer will take as much time as necessary to hear and understand every detail of your case throughfrequent and thorough meetings with you. If necessary, they will employ the appropriate agents to gather evidence for your case. A trustworthy criminal defence lawyer will always have contacts with the best experts in toxicology, forensic evidence, psychology and any other field your case may require.


An important approach to take when working with a criminal defence lawyer is teamwork. You as the client should be encouraged to be as involved in the building of your case as possible. Of course, many people will not have a professional understanding of law, but a good defence lawyer will outline and explain your rights, as well a go through the particular details of your case and guide you to the best approach to take.

A Thorough Approach

It is always important to look at each and every step of your case from the very beginning. An effective criminal defence lawyer will take you through every minute detail of your defence case and any other information that can help to build on a successful case for you.

A truly excellent defence lawyer will keep you up to date with any developments on your case.

John Buchanan, one of Vancouver’s best criminal defence lawyers matches all standards outlined above and more. Mr Buchanan has many years of experience and a proven successful record.

If you are seeking advice on anycase involving;

* Drug Crimes -creation, conspiracy and trafficking.

* Violent Crimes Defence – spousal assault, sex crimes, murder and weapons charges.

* Motor Vehicle Charges – impaired driving, refusal to blow, driving while barred

* Other offences – theft, fraud, kidnapping,

Contact John Buchanan Law now to avail yourself of a free consultation and case evaluation.

Strategies that a criminal defence lawyer in Vancouver may use

If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstances of having to enlist the help of a criminal defence lawyer in Vancouver, then you should be aware of the varying different strategies that they may use in order to get the best possible result from your case.

Admissibility of evidence

One strategy that a criminal defence lawyer in Vancouver may use is to question the admissibility of the evidence. This relates toraising questions on any possible discrepancies or anomalies that may have arisen with the evidence against you, in order to question its integrity and reliability. Some criminal cases are thrown out of court due to this reason, so it is worth exploring any potential issues that may determine if the evidence against you is inadmissible.

Police behaviour

Right from when you first have contact with the police in relation to your case, a criminal defence lawyer in Vancouver should pay close to attention to the behaviour and actions of the police throughout. If they have acted in an illegal or illegitimate way, then this can also be a reason for a criminal case to be scrapped.

This also refers to the acquiring of evidence and whether this was completed by a prohibited means, such as an unauthorised phone tap, or illegally collecting private documents. An effective criminal defence lawyer in Vancouver should know the rights of the individual and realize if there have been any breaches of conduct by the police.

Validity of search warrants

Continuingwith police behaviour, if there have been search warrants in relation to the case, then these need to be examined to ensure they were valid for the search that was carried out. A respectable criminal defence lawyer in Vancouver will pay very close attention to the particular clauses of the search warrant in order to ensure its legality.

Factual inaccuracies

A top criminal defence lawyer in Vancouver will study your case in great detail, particularly trying to establish if there are any factual inaccuracies within the evidence against you. This may relate to witnesses giving statements that conflict with other evidence or it may be a statement from a police officer that contains contradictory information.

Factual inaccuracies can put the whole prosecution case in doubt, and if there is some doubt in the minds of the jury that the evidence against the individual is not entirely factual, then a top criminal defence lawyer in Vancouver will seize on this opportunity, which may lead to an acquittal.

Hire a Lawyer to fit the Crime

If you have been hit with a criminal charge of shoplifting, it needn’t affect the rest of your life in a negative manner. A criminal lawyer in Vancouver can help you to get a fair sentence that will not prevent future employment opportunities, or leave a stain on you for life. You deserve fair and affordable representation, just like anyone else, no matter if you are guilty or innocent of the crime.

Shoplifting is a type of theft that involves stealing merchandise from businesses, or stores, or any location that offers items for sale. If you have been charged of taking items without the intention of paying for them, you have been charged with shoplifting. It is often handled differently than other types of theft charges.

Being charged with a crime, no matter what the magnitude, is a difficult and stressful time. Once you have determined that you need to hire legal representation, it is time to choose one that best suits your needs. A criminal Lawyer is for those who have been charged with things such as fraud, shoplifting and drug related charges. Lawyers help you to fully understand the charges against you and what your options are, moving forward. They have most likely dealt with cases just like yours and can provide references to those cases to ease your mind when deciding to hire them. They may even be able to convince prosecutors to dismiss a case before even going to trial. It is a criminal lawyer’s job to know the ins and outs of their area of expertise and how to help you achieve the best possible outcome.

They offer expert opinions on dealing with the charges laid against you and do their best to try to have you come out with no criminal record. Not every person who has committed a crime is a criminal, don’t let yourself be labeled one when you don’t have to. Don’t settle for bail and a criminal record that will follow you for years and prevent future employment, or possibly cause you to lose your current job. Hire a proficient and trustworthy criminal lawyer that will have your best interests in mind every step of the way. They may even know those who have brought charges against you and have some sway with them or the judges.

Visit John Buchanan Law to hire a skilled and experienced criminal lawyer in Vancouver with over 30 years in the business of helping people defend themselves.