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Friday, November 30, 2007

DWI In Virginia: Another Satisfied Client

Recently, a client facing a driving with suspended license charge contacted Gross & Romanick. This client faced jail or even possible steep fines, but due to Gross & Romanick's professional representation a more favorable outcome was reached. Even thought the license was suspended due to a prior DWI, the client only lost his license for 30 days but did not go to jail and did not pay a fine. The client then contacted the firm after court to thank both Mr. Edward Gross and his partner, Jeffrey Romanick, "for all of your help". He said that he "really appreciates everything you did for me."

If you face DUI or DWI charges in Virginia, contact Gross & Romanick today. We'll vigorously defend and protect your rights.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why You Need a Lawyer for Traffic Court

Think you don’t need a lawyer in traffic court for DWI charges? Think again. Whether you are charged with an offense that is criminal in nature or a basic traffic offense, Traffic Court matters have serious financial and economic implications beyond the fine and costs assessed by the Court. For many people, traffic court is their first experience with the American legal system. It is a system with complex rules and procedures. A lawyer knows how to navigate through the law, the rules and the court procedures. Experienced counsel knows the inclinations of the various judges and the prosecutors.

Many traffic defenses involve complex and technical issues. A capable lawyer can assess and recognize whether the prosecution can prove its case. A lawyer can advise you regarding viable defenses; help you present defenses that work; and, when appropriate, can negotiate a satisfactory plea bargain. A lawyer can protect your rights and prevent you from being taken advantage of by an overloaded or impersonal legal system. A lawyer can help you obtain a restricted driver’s license if you are qualified for one. In short, a lawyer is your ally in a complex and often hostile system.

Don’t face Traffic Court alone. Contact Gross & Romanick today at 703-273-1400 or visit our website for more information about our firm.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Reckless Driving Cases In Virginia

If you have a Reckless Driving case in Fairfax, Virginia or a similar criminal charge with or without an arrest—you need a lawyer. Gross & Romanick is an exceptionally experienced Northern Virginia-based firm with attorneys admitted to practice in the State Courts of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia and in the following Federal Courts: United States Supreme Court; Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and the District of Columbia; U.S. District Courts for Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia; U.S. Bankruptcy Courts for The Eastern District of Virginia and Maryland.

We’ve been representing Fairfax reckless driving defendants in Virginia since 1980 and so have the necessary experience to provide results for our clients. And since we’ve been awarded Martindale-Hubbell's® highest ethical rating, you can rest assured that we’ll defend your case with the utmost professionalism.

Call (703) 273-1400 today to speak to one of our attorneys about your reckless driving case in Virginia.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ash Charles Dean Joins Gross & Romanick

Ash Charles Dean joined the Gross & Romanick team as a law clerk in 2006. Born in Alexandria, Ash is a lifelong resident of Northern Virginia. He was raised in Manassas and Loudoun County, received his legal education in Arlington and now lives and works in Fairfax.

Before joining Gross & Romanick as a law clerk in 2006, Ash was an intern at the Public Defender’s Office in Loudoun County, where he was able to learn strategies for dealing with all manners of criminal and traffic matters. Ash was able to parlay these strategies into success in the courtrooms of law school, qualifying for the regional rounds of the National Trial Competition and eventually serving as President of the Trial Advocacy Association.

His legal education focused on business litigation, with electives in Business Associations, Income Taxation, Government Contracts, Proof and Commercial Paper. As a law clerk with Gross & Romanick, he gained valuable experience assisting the attorneys with all aspects of litigation, including the research and drafting of motions and pleadings. Ash gained valuable hands-on experience with significant client contact including witness and deposition preparation.

His education in computer science and his logical approach to dealing with technology makes him a natural fit to the technology law practice at Gross & Romanick, where he provides new and innovative services for both the internal operations of the firm and for the firm’s clients.

In his free time, Ash enjoys antiquing with his wife and reading historical non-fiction and political biographies. Ash is also the co-chair of the Dickinson College Washington, D.C. Alumni Association and a former Assistant Policy Debate Coach at Potomac Falls High School.

Education:
Dickinson College (B.A. Summa cum Laude, Computer Science and Political Science with minor in Philosophy, 2003); George Mason University (M.S., Computer Science, expected January 2008); George Mason University School of Law (J.D. Magna cum Laude, 2007).
Bar Admissions: 2007, Commonwealth of Virginia.

Professional Memberships:
American Bar Association; Fairfax Bar Association; Loudoun County Bar Association; Association of Computing Machinery.

Academic Honor Societies:
Phi Beta Kappa; Pi Sigma Alpha; Upsilon Pi Epsilon.
Publications: “The Effects of Learning on the Roles of Chance, History and Adaptation in Evolving Neural Networks”, selected for publication in the Proceedings of the Third Australian Conference on Artificial Life (December 2007) (with Dr. Grant Braught).

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tim Hamilton Rejoins Gross & Romanick

Tim Hamilton has rejoined Gross & Romanick, the Virginia legal team known for successfully defending reckless driving charges in Fairfax, Maryland ad Virginia as well as other traffic offenses and criminal charges; personal injury and wrongful death; and business law and commercial landlord cases.

Tim is the friendly voice on the phone when you call the law firm. He started working for Gross & Romanick as a part time file clerk in 1996 and has had various roles within the firm since that time. He is currently the Office Manager as well as Legal Assistant. Tim has a variety of tasks that range from preparation of pleadings and documents filed with the court to maintaining office functionality. His knowledge of court procedures and experience are an asset to the law firm. Outside of work, Tim is a sports enthusiast and enjoys weekend getaways.

Everyone at Gross & Romanick is pleased to welcome Tim back to the firm.

Monday, November 5, 2007

PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER SYSTEMS FROM SOCIAL ENGINEERS

As computer hacking becomes more prevalent, more and more companies are taking the time to deploy security technologies to protect themselves and their computer systems. While this action is to be commended and is certainly a step in the right direction, very little attention is given to the risk posed by individuals who utilize highly unethical practices to obtain unauthorized access to computer systems. These data thieves, called “social engineers” in the information security vernacular, use persuasive techniques in a manipulative and deceptive manner to steal data and personal, private or confidential information from businesses. Social engineers use the best qualities of company employees: helpfulness, teamwork and politeness, to gain access to a company. Kevin Mitnick, a veritable legend among hackers and social engineers, in his book “The Art of Intrusion” aptly described social engineering as “information security’s weakest link.”

A few years ago, Wired Magazine reported that hackers from around the world were repeatedly stealing customer information from a large internet service provider by simply asking for the information. According to the article, which is available here, one social engineer was able to obtain confidential account information merely by pretending to have recently undergone jaw surgery and mumbling the responses to security questions. Just last year, a large American payroll company released the names and personal information of about 10,000 brokerage clients to a social engineer impersonating a corporate officer (available here). Even more recently, a government audit discovered that almost 60% of IRS employees changed their computer passwords when requested by a caller simply claiming to be from technical support (available here).

In order to protect against social engineers, it is imperative that a business draft and enforce an information security policy and train its employees to understand and follow the policy. The attorneys at Gross & Romanick, P.C. work hard to stay abreast of the latest trends in the law and technology of information security. If your company needs help drafting an information security policy and/or needs instruction on how to help your employees understand the risks created by social engineers, hackers, crackers, phone phreaks or script kiddies, our lawyers can help.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

BUSINESS BROKER MISUSES ESCROW MONEY

Gross & Romanick, P.C. was recently retained by an individual who attempted to purchase a business through a “business broker” intermediary without the advice of legal counsel. The new client paid a substantial sum of money to the broker to hold in escrow until the buy-sell agreement closed. When the deal fell through, the broker refused to refund the escrow money. Eventually the broker confessed to the client that the money was spent and no longer in the broker’s account. Gross & Romanick, P.C. is now seeking a judgment against the broker through a lawsuit in the Virginia Court system. Gross & Romanick, P.C. learned that the broker was not licensed to transact business in Virginia as an escrow agent or otherwise. Although the client will likely prevail in Court and will obtain a judgment against the broker, he has been deprived of his escrow money for a significant period of time and there is always the risk that the judgment will be un-collectable.

The facts of this case illustrate how important it is that when negotiating for the purchase or sale of a business you have legal counsel review any documents related to the sale, and that due diligence is conducted to investigate any parties receiving commissions under the sale to ensure that they are legitimate business entities. Failure to do so can lead to detrimental results if the sale/purchase does not consummate.

Since 1980 Edward Gross of Gross & Romanick, P.C. has been negotiating and settling the sales/purchases of businesses. The experienced business law attorneys at Gross & Romanick, P.C. are more than willing to assist you and your business with any matter relating to the sale or purchase of a business.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

ACCEPTING A PARTIAL PAYMENT CAN BE DANGEROUS

After entering into a settlement agreement that provided for receipt of monthly payments for a substantial period of time, the opposing party paid only a portion of one monthly payment and refused to cure the balance. Gross & Romanick, P.C. was retained to file suit for breach of contract. The defendant now claims that the terms of the settlement agreement were orally modified by the parties, and that the acceptance of a partial payment represented consent to a “modified” agreement. Although the client should still prevail at trial, the situation illustrates the danger of accepting a partial payment. In this instance a factual dispute as to whether or not the agreement was orally modified is forcing the matter to proceed to a trial.

Consider this a warning!!! If you accept a partial payment under a contract that does not explicitly address partial payments, you may be compromising your ability to collect pursuant to the original terms of the contract. Therefore, do not accept partial payments unless the paying party acknowledges in writing that the payment is intended as a partial payment of an amount due. Failure to obtain an acknowledgment in writing can complicate any ensuing action in Court. Further, when entering into a contract, always include a provision requiring that any modification to the contract to be in writing. It is the best way to prevent the opposing party from asserting an “oral modification” defense.

Since 1980 Edward Gross of Gross & Romanick, P.C. has been drafting, reviewing, and litigating business and other related contracts. The experienced contract attorneys at Gross & Romanick, P.C. are more than willing to assist you and your business with most any contract-related matter. Contact them at 703-273-1400 or visit online at www.gross.com

Monday, October 29, 2007

WOLFTRAP AND MARIJUANA POSSESSION

The public should be aware that there are Fairfax County Officers and United States Park Police routinely patrolling the parking areas and concert grounds looking for individuals and groups smoking marijuana as well as looking for underage consumption of alcohol.

Gross & Romanick, P.C. has represented a number of individuals charged with possession of marijuana and underage possession of alcohol at the Wolftrap National Park for the Performing Arts. The majority of these officers are in plainclothes and not easily identifiable. Persons charged are typically detained for a short period of time and issued a summons to appear in either Federal or State Court.

Those charged by Fairfax County officers will have to appear in the Fairfax County General District Court. Under state law, possession of marijuana in an amount less than ½ ounce is a misdemeanor offense in Virginia. If convicted, first time offenders face the possibility of being sentenced to up to thirty days in jail, being fined up to $500, and losing their driver’s license for up to six months. They will also be required to partake in a probationary treatment program consisting of drug education courses and mandatory drug screenings. Multiple time offenders and those caught with larger quantities of marijuana face more significant penalties.

Those charged by federal officers will have to appear in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria. Under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense. If convicted of possession of any amount, first time offenders face the possibility of being sentenced to up to one year in prison and being assessed a minimum fine of $1,000. For a second conviction, the penalties increase to a 15-day mandatory minimum jail sentence with a maximum of two years in prison and a minimum fine of $2,500. Persons charged may also be subject to an onerous pre-trial probationary period involving mandatory drug screens.

Possession of Marijuana is illegal under Virginia and Federal Law and a person should never illegally possess and smoke marijuana. It is particularly foolish to engage in such illegal conduct on federal property such as the Wolftrap National Park. If you are charged with possession of marijuana or underage possession of alcohol, whether wrongfully or rightfully, it is imperative that you retain an attorney to represent you in Court. The attorneys at Gross & Romanick, P.C. are experienced in this area and can use their expertise to zealously defend your rights.

Contact Gross & Romanick today at 703-273-1400 to retain an attorney.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Commercial Landlords

Are you a landlord? Own a few commercial properties in the Maryland, DC and Virginia area? As you well know, leasing to tenants at a shopping center, office building, warehouse or other commercial facilities involves complex issues from lease interpretation to collecting unpaid rent. Property managers and leasing brokers in the Metro area have come to depend on Gross & Romanick’s advice for management decisions, contract language and eviction proceedings.

Gross & Romanick represents many of the largest commercial landlords in the DC, Maryland and Virginia Metro area, as well as a national REIT. We take a practical, business approach to the following commercial landlord legal areas:

The Lease and Other Agreements
We prepare leases for all types of commercial properties and, through our considerable litigation, eviction and other experiences in this area of the law, Gross & Romanick has developed Landlord-favorable Leases, subleases, rights of first refusal, settlement agreements, termination agreements, and other legal documents.

Evictions
We’ll help you evict defaulting tenants and and handle thorny issues that sometimes accompany an eviction, such as abandoned property, illegal subtenants and bankruptcy.

Self-Help
Gross & Romanick canreview your lease and advise you of the risks and procedures of self-help and even draft a lease that will permit you to maximize your rights to self-help.

Bankruptcy
We help landlords pursue claims against tenants who have filed bankruptcy.

Litigation
We’ve represented landlords in hundreds of cases in the Washington, DC Metro area.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Personal Injury & Wrongful Death in Virginia, DC, and Maryland

Were you or a loved one injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident? Or have you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence? Loss of income, unexpected medical expenses and pain from an injury can all cause an incredible amount of stress so you need someone on your side. The attorneys at Gross & Romanick represent people just like you in serious injury and wrongful death cases in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Whether you’ve been in an automobile accident or are a pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle or even had an accident on an escalator of elevator, you need a legal team that’s responsive to your concerns and will work diligently and with integrity to find a solution to your legal problem. You don’t need to face this often grueling process alone. Gross & Romanic’s attorneys have extensive experience handling even the most complex injury and wrongful death cases and will, with the utmost professionalism, help you protect your rights and interests against those at fault and their insurance companies. Gross & Romanick received Martindale-Hubbell’s® highest ethical rating, so you can rest assured that we are as ethical as we are aggressive in our quest to help you seek fair compensation for your injuries, as well as recovery for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and, if appropriate, punitive damages.

Cases we’ve handled in the past include:

* Truck, SUV & Car Accidents
* Traumatic Brain Injuries
* Truck Collisions
* Motorcycle Accidents and Bicycle Accidents
* Pedestrians Hit by Motor Vehicles
* Slips and Falls
* Attacks in Buildings/Premises Liability
* Escalator and Elevator Accidents

Contact Gross & Romanick today at 703-273-1400 or peruse Personal Injury or Wrongful Death webpages for more information about our practice.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fairfax Virginia Traffic Lawyers

If you have a ticket for or have been charged with Reckless Driving in Virginia, Driving on Suspended or Revoked License in Fairfax, Virginia, Driving without a License in Virginia, Hit and Run in Fairfax, Virginia, or Traffic Violations Involving an Accident in Virginia you need a lawyer. Facing such charges can be an incredibly stressful ordeal and navigating State and Federal Traffic Courts of Virginia can be difficult to say the least. You need an experienced lawyer on your side.

The attorneys at Fairfax-based Gross & Romanick have been defending such cases in the local area for over 20 years and work with a team of experts, including toxicologists, to secure the best possible outcome for you. And since they thoroughly understand the Federal, State and Local statutes and continually take part in continuing legal education classes, you can rest assured that Gross & Romanick offers the best legal counsel in the Fairfax, Virginia area for Traffic Offenses.

Don’t face Traffic Court alone: contact Gross & Romanick today at (703) 273-1400 or peruse their frequently asked questions about Fairfax Virginia DWI, DUI & Traffic Law.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New File-Sharing Information on Gross.com

Gross & Romanick has added a new page to their website about RIAA and File Sharing Defense. Gross & Romanick aids Individuals who have received demand letters from the Recording Industry Association of America ("RIAA") that allege infringement upon copyrights owned by the "big 4" recording labels (EMI Recorded Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group).

Gross & Romanick has both the technical and the legal know-how to assist their clients in making an informed decision—whether they choose to pursue litigation or opt for settlement. Gross & Romanick address specific questions and concerns with a practical approach based upon individual preferences.

Review the website today and contact Gross & Romanick to set up an appointment. Don’t accept a settlement with the Record Companies without first reviewing your options!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Taxes & Foreign Companies: Another Testimonial

Gross & Romanick recently prepared a legal memorandum with an analysis regarding the income, sales and use taxes owed by a foreign (U.K.) company to the U.S. and state governments for the sale of software and support to a U.S. company. Delivery, use and support will all take place in the U.S.

The client commented: "This memorandum is exactly what I was looking for. Please pass on my thanks to your legal staff, and complements on the clarity of the analysis."

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Gastric Bypass Surgery & DWI

The lawyers at Gross & Romanick, P.C. in Fairfax Virginia staying at the forefront of the latest legal defenses has taken note that new studies published earlier this summer reveal that individuals are likely to become intoxicated faster after having gastric bypass surgery.

An article in the Washington Post on June 14, 2007 reports that a study conducted by Dr. John Morton, director of bariatric surgery at Stanford Hospitals and Clinics reveals that, on average, individuals that have had gastric bypass surgery will reach a peak BAC of 0.08 after five ounces of red wine and that alcohol will remain in the individual’s system for, on average 108 minutes. Furthermore, according to the study, approximately 1 in 10 patients of gastric bypass surgery will reach a peak BAC level of 0.15 after only one drink. Conversely, the study reveals, an individual that has not had gastric bypass surgery will reach a peak BAC of only 0.05 and the alcohol will remain in their system for only 72 minutes.

The Washington Post reported that an October 2006 show Oprah Winfrey did on gastric-bypass surgery has “led researchers to confirm that gastric bypass causes people to get drunk faster”. According to Dr. Joaquin Rodriguez, assistant professor of surgery at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, patients of gastric bypass surgery “need just to be aware that the same amount of alcohol may affect them differently than someone who hasn’t had a gastric bypass”. Doctor Morton of Stanford Hospitals and Clinics was quoted to say “patients may have high breath alcohol level and not be aware of it”.

The attorneys at Gross & Romanick, P.C. are concerned that gastric bypass patients may find themselves being wrongfully accused of drunk driving in Virginia based upon the traditional measures of Blood Alcohol Levels on a breathalyzer machine which takes a sample of breath up to three hours after the initial stop by the police. Even more alarming is the fact that gastric bypass patients may be inadvertently discriminated against because Virginia has enacted enhanced penalties and mandatory jail for driver’s who show a BAC level in excess of .15.

Jeffrey S. Romanick of Gross & Romanick, P.C. was quoted as saying “[t]he revelations in the study conducted by Dr. Morton open a host of potential defenses to gastric bypass patients wrongfully accused of drunk driving.”

For more information on the effect of alcohol on patients with gastric bypass surgery, see Amanda Gardner’s article, “Drunkenness Comes Faster After Gastric Surgery” in the June 14, 2007 edition of the Washington Post.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Virginia Sharply Increases Fees for Traffic Convictions

Starting July 1, 2007, Virginia courts started assessing “civil remedial fees” against Virginia residents convicted of certain misdemeanor or felony traffic violations on Virginia highways. These new fees will be assessed in addition to the existing fines for such traffic convictions, and will be used to fund the Commonwealth’s various transportation needs. These fees will be imposed in three equal parts: you’ll have to pay the first part immediately upon conviction, the second part within 14 months of conviction, and the third part within 26 months of conviction.

It’s essential to get legal counsel to represent you in traffic court if you’re charged with a traffic violation carrying a civil remedial fee. Why? An experienced attorney can greatly reduce the chances that you’ll be convicted of the violation and be required to pay the associated fee—thus decreasing the total costs associated with your offense.

Here’s a list of several traffic violations and the associated civil remedial fees:

VIOLATION FEE
Driving with a suspended or revoked license $750
Driving without a driver’s license $900
Aggressive Driving $1,050
Reckless driving (misdemeanor) $1,050
Reckless driving (felony) $3,000
DWI/DUI (first or second offense) $2,250
DWI/DUI (third offense) $3,000


For a complete list of traffic violations carrying civil remedial fees, click here.

If you’ve been charged with a violation subject to these new civil fees and want representation, contact Gross & Romanick, P.C. at (703) 273-1400 or visit our website at www.gross.com.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Bereavement Is Factor In Successful Fairfax DWI Representation

James Anderson (not his real name) was accused of drunk driving and involved in a single car accident. While Anderson was grieving over the recent loss of his spouse, Jeff Romanick of Gross & Romanick, P.C helped him avoid a DWI conviction by convincing the Commonwealth Attorney's office to reduce the charges. Anderson wrote to Mr. Romanick: "Thanks again for the help and counsel. I will gladly refer people to you and your firm."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fees For Intermediate Sanctions for Non-Profits

Today we're continuing our series on non-profits & financial compensation by discussing what sort of fees your non-profit may expect to pay if the IRS imposes intermediate sanctions for excessive benefit.

The monetary penalties can be very harsh. Someone in a decision-making position over a non-profit who receives a compensation or benefit that exceeds the value of his or her contributions is subject to an excise tax of twenty-five percent (25%) of the excess amount. If they do not return the excess to the nonprofit by a set date, an additional tax of two hundred percent (200%) is imposed. Organization managers responsible for approving an excess benefit transaction can be held liable for an excise tax of ten percent (10%) of the excess benefit, with a ceiling of $10,000 per transaction.

Because fines can be so hefty, it's a good idea to make sure you have adequate representation. Please contact Gross & Romanick today.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

How Does The IRS Define Reasonable Compensation For Non-profits?

In our last post we talked about what actions the IRS can take if they suspect a non-profit is offering excessive compensation to its officers and directors. But before we delve too deeply, we thought we'd take a step back to talk about how they define reasonable compensation.

Reasonable compensation is defined as the value that would ordinarily be paid for similar services by similar companies under similar circumstances.

Compensation is presumed reasonable unless proven otherwise, provided the non-profit follows a set of standard procedures, which is known as establishing a "rebuttable presumption of reasonableness." To establish the rebuttable presumption of reasonableness, the transaction must be approved by an authorized body of the non-profit, the authorized body must use appropriate data to determine if the benefit is comparable to those provided by like companies under like circumstances prior to making a decision, and the authorized body must document the basis for its decision. (For non-profits with gross receipts of less than $1 million dollars, the compensation for similar positions paid by three similar organizations is considered appropriate data.) Once the non-profit establishes this rebuttable presumption, it becomes the IRS's responsibility to prove that a transaction involved excess compensation.

And remember, Gross & Romanick can guide you through this process so that there's never any doubt that you've successfully established rebuttable presumption of reasonableness.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How Non-profits Can Establish A Rebuttable Presumption of Reasonableness.

In our final post on non-profits and compensation, we're going to talk about what actions non-profits can take to establish a "rebuttable presumption of reasonableness."

1. Adopt a Conflict of Interest Policy.
2. An examination should be done with regard to what is "normal and reasonable" compensation within the particular industry the commission payment is coming from.
3. Write a written compensation agreement to be approved by the Board of Directors. The employees receiving the compensation package should not be present during the vote and should not vote on the compensation agreement. If a Conflict of Interest Policy is adopted, the Board of Directors should follow the policy and adopt a written resolution demonstrating that the procedures were followed.

Of course, it is always wise to seek legal counsel during this process, so be sure to contact Gross & Romanick before you begin to establish your rebuttable presumption of reasonableness.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Can Non-Profit Officers & Directors Receive Commissions?

Rewarding employees based on amount earned in the form of commissions is a long-standing tradition among for-profit companies. But what about non-profits? Can the officers and directors of a non-profit receive a commission based on the amount of money raised to fund a given project?

First off, it's important to realize that for-profit organizations do not face the same kind of inspection from the IRS as non-profits do when it comes to compensation. But there are several guidelines non-profits should follow to make sure that no penalties are imposed upon them or their directors and officers, which we'll discuss in the next few posts on this blog. (And if you'd like to discuss these regulations with us, please don't hesitate to contact Gross & Romanick.)

If the IRS suspects a non-profit is offering excessive compensation or benefits to an officer or director, it can impose intermediate sanctions. Excess benefit transactions occur when someone in a decision-making position over a non-profit receives a compensation or benefit that exceeds the value of his or her contributions. (Keep in mind that all financial transactions constitute a benefit.) Intermediate sanctions may be applied to someone who is in a position to exercise substantial influence over the affairs of the organization, such as officers and directors, and who receives benefits in excess of "reasonable compensation." Intermediate sanctions can also be applied to the organization managers who approve the transaction.

Another Successful Personal Injury Case

Happy with the $56,700.00 settlement in her very complicated personal injury case, Mary Worth (not her real name) recently sent Gross & Romanick this e-mail: "You ROCK. This will save me until I start work in January. Thanks again!"

Friday, June 29, 2007

Registering Copyrights

First off, you should know that copyright exists from the moment you create
your literary, artistic, or musical work, so registering your copyright is
completely voluntary. But there are several reasons why you may choose to
register your copyright, such as: you want to have the facts of your
copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration;
registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees
in successful litigation; and, if registration occurs within 5 years of
publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law.

If you’d like to register a document or item as a copyright, you can use
either the short form TX or the standard form TX. Short form TX applies if
you are the only author and copy right owner of the work, and the work was
not made for hire, and the work is completely new (does not contain a
substantial amount of material that has been previously published or
registered or is in the public domain). Otherwise, use the standard form TX
to register for a copyright. Along with the completed application form,
send a check for $45 made payable to “Register of Copyrights” as well as a
non-returnable copy of the material to be registered to: Library of
Congress, Copyright office, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C.
20559-6000

Registration becomes effective on the day the Copyright office receives your
completed application, payment, and copies of the work in an acceptable
format. If your submission is in order, expect to receive a certificate of
registration within four months.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Registering Trademarks & Service marks

As we mentioned in our previous post, you can choose to register your
trademark or you can choose not to. If you do register your trademark you
can use the ® after the brand name, whereas if you do not register it, but

merely apply for a trademark, you use TM after the brand name. (And remember
that you can only use the registration symbol before your trade or service
mark once the application has been processed, which could take anywhere from
6 months to several years.) That said, the benefits of registering a
trademark are: you’ll have evidence that you own the trademark; you can
invoke the jurisdiction of federal courts; and you can file your
registration with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of
infringing foreign goods.

If you want to apply for registration of a trademark, you can fill out an
application online and file it over the net using the Trademark Electronic
Application System (TEAS) here. You can also respond to Office
actions and file notices of change of address and many other documents
through TEAS. If you’d like to check the status of your application, you
can visit the Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval (TARR)
database at http://tarr.uspto.gov. If you don’t
have internet access, call the Trademark Assistance Center at 1-800-786-9199
(or 1- 571-272-9250) to request a paper form.

Your completed application form to register a trademark (submitted online or
via US mail) should include: the appropriate fee; a drawing of the mark to
be registered; and specimens of use of the mark if the application is based
on actual use in commerce.

You can mail paper applications to: Commissioner for Trademarks, P.O. Box
1451, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1451

The trademark and service mark filing fees are as follows:
(1) $275 per class for a TEAS Plus application that meets the requirements of 37 C.F.R. §§2.22 and 2.23;

(2) $325 per class for an application filed electronically using the
Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS); or

(3) $375 per class for an application filed on paper.

These fees will be charged not only when you file a new application, but
also when payments are made to add classes to an existing application.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Differences Between Copyrights, Trademarks and Service Marks

Most people do not understand the difference between a trademark, a service
mark and a copyright, but they are actually distinct legal protections.

A trademark protects the goods that you make or sell, whereas a service
mark (SM) protects the services you provide or sell. And a copyright
protects literary, artistic, and musical works. If you want to protect your
brand name, you should use a trademark. (Copyrights don’t protect names,
titles, slogans or short phrases.)

Chances are you’ve noticed the symbols businesses use to indicate which kind
of legal protection they’ve applied for, but these are not just arbitrarily
used. The use of symbols like TM and SM are governed by local, state, or
foreign laws, which makes it essential for you to seek legal representation
while you decide which kind of protection you need and to aid you in the
application process.

Keep in mind that you can only use the federal registration symbol, or the R
enclosed within a circle, once your trade or service mark is actually
registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Even
if your application is pending, you still cannot use the registration symbol
before the mark has actually become registered. (It is not easy to guess how
long it will take for the application to be processed. In general, you will
receive a receipt, along with an application serial number, within 3 weeks of
filing and you may get a response within 6 to 7 months, but the truth is the
process could take anywhere from a year to several years)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You're Not Just Our Next Case

Jacob Smith (not his real name) was recently convicted of reckless driving in Fairfax District Court and hired Gross & Romanick to overturn his conviction on appeal to the Fairfax Circuit Court.

Gross & Romanick secured him a plea to Improper Driving and managed to get the court to reduce his original fine by $50.00. Plus, he didn't end up losing his license and his points were reduced from 6 points to 3.

After the case was over, he wrote to us to thank us for representing him. "I truly felt like I was more than just Joe Smo traffic ticket guy," he said, which is precisely our goal at Gross & Romanick: you're not just a case, but a valued client and an important person--and we treat you that way every step of the way.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Fees For Virginia Drivers

§ 46.2-206.1. Imposition of certain additional fees on certain drivers.

A. The purpose of the civil remedial fees imposed in this section is to generate revenue from drivers whose proven dangerous driving behavior places significant financial burdens upon the Commonwealth. The civil remedial fees established by this section shall be in addition to any other fees, costs, or penalties imposed pursuant to the Code of Virginia.

B. The civil remedial fees established by this section shall be assessed on any resident of Virginia operating a motor vehicle on the highways of Virginia, including persons to whom Virginia driver's licenses, commercial driver's licenses, or learner's permits have been issued pursuant to this title; and persons operating motor vehicles without licenses or whose license has been revoked or suspended.

C. The court shall assess a person with the following fees upon each conviction of the following offenses:

1. Driving while his driver's license was suspended or revoked pursuant to § 18.2-272, 46.2-301, 46.2-302, 46.2-341.21 , or 46.2-391 shall be assessed a fee to be paid in three annual payments of $250 each;

2. Reckless driving in violation of Article 7 (§ 46.2-852 et seq.) of Chapter 8 or aggressive driving in violation of § 46.2-868.1 shall be assessed a fee to be paid in three annual payments of $350 each;

3. Driving while intoxicated in violation of § 18.2-266, 18.2-266.1, or 46.2-341.24 shall be assessed a fee to be paid in three annual payments of $750 each;

4. Any other misdemeanor conviction for a driving and/or motor vehicle related violation of Title 18.2 or this title that is not included in one of the preceding three subdivisions shall be assessed a fee to be paid in three annual payments of $300 each; and

5. Any felony conviction for a driving or motor vehicle-related offense under Title 18.2 or this title, shall be assessed a fee to be paid in three annual payments of $1,000 each.

D. For the purposes of subsection C:

1. A finding of guilty in the case of a juvenile and a conviction under a substantially similar valid local ordinance of any locality of the Commonwealth, shall be a conviction.

2. The fees assessed under subsection C shall be implemented in a manner whereby no convictions for offenses committed prior to July 1, 2007, shall be considered.

E. The court shall collect, in full, the first annual payment of the fee imposed under subsection C at the time of conviction and shall order the person assessed a fee to submit the second annual payment to the Department within 14 calendar months of the date of conviction and the third annual payment to the Department within 26 months of the date of conviction. When transmitting conviction information to the Department the court shall also transmit notice that a fee has been imposed under this section and the deadline upon which the second and third annual payments must be submitted to the Department. The court shall order suspension of the driver's license or privilege to drive a motor vehicle in Virginia as provided in § 46.2-395 of any person failing to pay the first annual payment of the fee assessed under subsection C.

F. For all convictions reported to the Department for which fees are established under subsection C, the person assessed the fee shall submit the second annual payment to the Commissioner within 14 calendar months of the date of conviction and the third annual payment within 26 months of the date of conviction. The Commissioner, or his designee, shall establish guidelines, policies, or procedures to notify every person assessed a fee pursuant to subsection C of the second and the third annual payments. If the person fails to make such payment, the Commissioner shall suspend his driver's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in Virginia. No license shall be reissued or reinstated until all fees assessed pursuant to this section have been paid and all other reinstatement requirements as provided in this title have been satisfied.

G. In addition to any fees set forth in subsection C, any person whose driver's record with the Department shows a balance of eight or more driver demerit points on July 15 shall be assessed a fee of $100 plus $75 for each demerit point in excess of eight, but not greater than $700, provided that only those demerit points attributable to offenses which occurred on or after July 1, 2007 shall be used to calculate and assess such fees.

H. The Commissioner, or his designee, shall assess the fees set forth in subsection G annually, beginning on July 15, 2007.

I. The Commissioner, or his designee, shall establish guidelines, policies, or procedures to notify every person assessed a fee pursuant to subsection G. If any assessment made under subsection G remains unpaid 60 days following the date on which the notice of assessment was mailed, the Commissioner shall suspend the driver's license or privilege to drive a motor vehicle in Virginia of the person against whom the assessment was imposed. No license shall be reissued or reinstated until all fees assessed pursuant to this section have been paid and all other reinstatement requirements as provided in this title have been satisfied.

J. In the event that a person disputes a conviction on his driver's record based upon identity, if the person presents the Department a certified copy of a petition to a court of competent jurisdiction seeking to vacate an order of such conviction, the Department shall suspend the imposition of the assessment. Such suspension shall be valid for one year from the date of the commencement or until 30 days after an entry of a final order on such petition, whichever occurs first.

K. Funds collected through the imposition of the fees as provided for in this section shall be used to pay the Department's cost in imposing and collecting such assessments as provided in the general appropriation act, and any remainder shall be deposited into the Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Increased Fines For Virginia Traffic Violations

There are some new statutes that will affect Virginia drivers. These extremely high fees will have to be paid over 3 years and make it even more important to make sure you’re represented by a lawyer. Fines have increased for traffic violations like:

- Driving while your driver's license is suspended or revoked
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Any other misdemeanor conviction for a driving and/or motor vehicle related violation
- Any felony conviction for a driving or motor vehicle-related offense

Keep in mind that a conviction won’t just cost you a court fine, but may also result in heavy fines by the Dept. of Motor Vehicles. And if you fail to pay these fees, your Virginia license may be suspended. An attorney will be aware of these new enhanced fees and will work to avoid convictions for charges associated with these new fees.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Welcome!

Welcome to the new Fairfax Law blog. Stay abreast of all the latest legal information for the Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland areas.