Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why Do I Need A Lawyer In Traffic Court?

Gross & Romanick publishes a number of articles on their website about their various practice areas: Bankruptcy; Business Law; Commercial Landlord; Construction Law; Litigation; Personal Injury; Technology Law; and Traffic/DWI.

Here’s an article from the Traffic/DWI section:

Why do I need a lawyer in Traffic Court?

Many traffic court matters (in Virginia) are considered misdemeanors, such as DWI, Hit & Run, Reckless Driving and Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License. Some offenses may even rise to the level of a felony such as 3rd offense DWIs and certain Hit & Run offenses. These offenses are criminal in nature and can result in a jail sentence, as well as an extended suspension of your driver's license.

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. These costs may include potential increases in your insurance premiums and loss of driving privileges. The point system in most states, including Virginia, may further penalize your ability to retain a driver's license if you accumulate traffic court convictions. In addition, depending upon your occupation, the ability to retain a driver's license and to avoid a criminal conviction could be crucial to your career.

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. A lawyer is in the best position to recognize mistakes made by the prosecution and is able to assist with the technical defenses available to people who find themselves in Traffic Court. Many traffic defenses involve complex and technical issues.

In most prosecutions of a DWI, the State relies upon a scientific test to prove intoxication. The machine used by the police takes a sample of your breath because the laws against drunk driving are keyed to the amount of alcohol in your blood at the time you are driving. Often the breath sample is not obtained until an hour or longer after the police stop or the actual driving activity. This opens the door for scientific and technical defenses with the assistance of experts in the field of toxicology, who understand the science of measuring blood alcohol content.

Speed related offenses are dependent upon the ability of the police officer to accurately measure the speed of the offending driver's vehicle. Different methods are utilized to measure speed including standing radar, moving radar, laser devices, timing devices, and pacing. With each method the burden is on the prosecution to demonstrate that the police officer has used accurate and properly calibrated measuring devices. 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.

If you’d like to contact Gross & Romaick about representation, call 703-273-1400 today.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Reckless Driving In Virginia

Gross & Romanick recently helped a client with a 90 mph reckless driving case in Fairfax. Since the client had two young children in the car at the time the end result could have been a lot worse then it was: no jail time and no suspension of the client’s driver's license.

Afterwards, the client wrote to express appreciation for Gross & Romanick’s help:
Dear Mr. Romanick:

Thanks so much for taking on my case and handling it so well! I was in very good hands. Thank you for talking things over with me and keeping me informed with what was going on and making me part of the process.

Thanks so much!

For more information on how Gross & Romanick can help you with your reckless driving case, call 703-273-1400 today.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Social Networking Sites

A recent article in the Washington Post Business Section revealed that Google has recently announced a new, free service that will allow any website to become a social networking site. As large social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook have grown in size and are widely reputed to be worth billions of dollars, many smaller websites have taken the plunge into social networking or Web 2.0 technologies that utilize user-generated content. This trend represents an entrepreneurial opportunity for the intrepid web developer. However, one should be aware of the legal implications before launching a new social networking site. There are federal and state laws regulating certain aspects of Web 2.0 that can be ambiguous and perhaps contradictory. For example, there are regulations dealing with retention and use of personal information collected by social networking websites. A new Web 2.0 site should implement and follow a privacy policy to ensure compliance with these regulations. There are regulations regarding the privacy of children. The FTC regulates certain marketing practices. In short, there are a plethora of laws, including copyright, constitutional and sometimes criminal, of which the new Web 2.0 developer must be aware in order to avoid legal problems.

The attorneys at the law firm of Gross & Romanick are licensed in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia and regularly practice in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington Counties as well as the City of Alexandria and the Eastern District of Virginia. We are well-versed in the intricacies of law and regulation that govern the rapidly developing technologies of Web 2.0. Our attorneys have participated in seminars expressly tailored to the unique situations created by user-generated content, social networking and Web 2.0. Whether you or your business are attempting to develop the newest version of Facebook and need a lawyer to assist in drafting a privacy policy; or you have been criminally charged with a violation of various federal and state anti-spam laws because of an unintentional mass emailing to subscribers; or just need legal representation, our attorneys can help.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Accounts Receivable

As part of its Business Law practice, Gross & Romanick from time to time posts articles on their website they feel may be useful to clients. A recent article, “Accounts Receivable: A Plan to Improve Your Collections,” is reprinted below.

For more information about Gross & Romanick’s Business Law practice, contact the firm at 703-273-1400.

Accounts Receivable: A Plan to Improve Your Collections

Effective management of accounts receivable requires a written procedures manual, so that the patients, the office staff and the doctors understand everyone's duties and responsibilities. This plan will increase in-house collections.

A comprehensive collection plan that informs your patients of their obligations and identifies bad debts early can go a long way toward putting you in control of your accounts-getting your money more quickly and minimizing the cases sent to an attorney or collection agency. Any such plan that you devise must strike a balance between a policy that is too harsh at the cost of strained relations, or a lost patient, and one that is too permissive at the cost of profitability. Even the best plan will prove futile in some cases, when it becomes apparent that any further effort to convince a patient to pay will fall on deaf ears. Identifying bad debts and quickly sending them out for collection will improve your success rate.

This sample outlines a mix of written and oral reminders. Perhaps one like it will work for you.

The Collection Plan: Taking Control of Your Accounts Receivable

You've completed your service for the client and sent out the bill. But the money is not yet in your hands. You could just sit and wait (and hope), but we suggest a better alternative: a collection plan. A comprehensive plan will make collections more successful by informing clients of their obligations and identifying bad debts early enough to take appropriate action.

Formulating an effective collection plan is the first and most important step in getting control of your accounts. By setting up a comprehensive scheme for dealing with accounts receivable collections, you can obtain your money faster and avoid the necessity of going to an outside collection agency or attorney.

In constructing a collection plan it is important to strike a balance between effective collections and not angering (and losing) clients. At the same time it is necessary to quickly identify those clients who will not pay, so that more drastic actions are initiated.

In order for a collection plan to be effective it must treat all accounts according to the same policy so that your staff and clients know their obligations. This consistency will can be best achieved through the creation of a "schedule", similar to the one show below, which sets out the various contacts that should be made with the debtor at appropriate intervals. When designing a schedule you need to keep diplomacy in mind as well as your financial needs. A bookkeeper can call a client to check on an account a certain amount of time after a bill has been sent. If this is done incorrectly it can be very rude and will be likely to antagonize your clients, but if it is done properly it can be both polite and effective.

The schedule show below is only an example; you will have to design your own plan to suit your particular business needs.

At some point it will become apparent that any further efforts to convince a client to disgorge the unpaid funds would be futile. The whole point of a collection plan is to determine who is not going to pay, and to determine it as quickly as possible. Our own feeling is that any account which is over 90 days past due should be considered a bad debt and sent to an attorney for collection.

Past Due Contact Type
15 days Pleasant memo: "Do you need more information?" -- written
30 days Polite inquiry: "Just a reminder." -- oral
45 days Strong reminder: "Is there a problem?" -- written/oral
60 days Strong demand: "Please pay now!" -- written/oral
75 days Final demand: "Pay now or face legal action." -- written/oral/personal visit
90 days Place debt with collection agency or attorney

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Have You Been Injured In An Accident?

If you have been injured in a car accident or have lost a loved one as the result of the negligent or intentional conduct of another individual, Gross & Romanick can help you. Gross & Romanick understands the pain and stress you are going through in dealing with your injury, lost income, and unexpected medical expenses. Our firm represents injured individuals and their families in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases involving:

* 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

Gross & Romanick, P.C. provides practical solutions for its client’s legal problems across Northern Virginia. The law firm built its success by being responsive to client concerns and applying hard work with integrity to find creative legal solutions. Gross & Romanick meet its client’s legal needs by using cost saving technology and combining sophistication with sensitivity. The firm is proud of its reputation for being knowledgeable, responsive, accessible, aggressive and professional. The law firm is led by managing partner Edward Gross and its attorneys are licensed in Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland.

A firm with great experience, Gross & Romanick, P.C. is cited in Martindale-Hubbell® as having “an exemplary reputation and well established practice” with “high professional standing.” The firm received Martindale-Hubbell’s® highest ethical rating.

Gross & Romanick has extensive experience to enable them to provide results to their clients who have been injured in an accident or who have lost a loved one as the result of the negligent or intentional misconduct of another individual. Gross & Romanick effectively and efficiently handles injury and wrongful death cases of all levels of complexity. Gross & Romanick, P.C. will help you protect and your rights and interests against the parties at fault and their insurance companies. The firm will help you seek fair compensation for your injuries, including recovery for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and, where appropriate, punitive damages. Gross & Romanick’s proximity to the Fairfax County/City Courthouses and their years (since 1980) of representing litigants makes the firm very familiar with the practices and procedures of the courts of Northern Virginia.

Courts in which Gross & Romanick’s attorneys are admitted to practice:

State Courts: Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia

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.

Please contact Gross & Romanick today to discuss your legal concerns.



Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Creditors Don't Give Up Hope

As American faces an increasingly sluggish economy, more and more individuals are becoming concerned about bankruptcy. As a courtesy to creditors and consumers, Fairfax-based Gross & Romanick posts articles and publications on its website about each of its practice areas, including bankruptcy.

Here's a reprint of one of their articles on Bankruptcy. To read more about bankruptcy law, visit the law firm's website.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Creditors Don't Give Up Hope

A long time purchaser of your inventory has just filed bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code while still owing you a large sum of money. A creditor's initial reaction is often despair. They believe that it is the end of the world and that they will be lucky to recover a few cents on the dollar. Do not despair! There is some hope for recovery of your money.

Plan of Reorganization

In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the debtor's goal is to reorganize and reemerge as a functioning entity. This goal is accomplished by developing a business plan, which must be approved by the bankruptcy court.

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy may be beneficial to both debtors and creditors. Debtors benefit because they continue to operate their businesses while creditors cannot seize their assets. Creditors benefit because there is the possibility for recovering the debt owed and because long standing business relations can be continued. The theory behind allowing debtors to remain in possession of operations is that current management is familiar with the business dealings and is best equipped to restore it to viability.

The Automatic Stay

Debtors also benefit from the "Automatic Stay in Bankruptcy". The Automatic Stay is immediately effective, and operates to prohibit actions against property of the debtor's estate. It provides the debtor with breathing space to allow it to formulate how best to pay off its creditors and reorganize its affairs.

Debtors are also provided with additional benefits under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. Under certain circumstances, debtors may sell property free and clear of liens. In addition, when appropriate, the debtor in possession may assume, reject or assign executory contracts or unexpired leases, even if the terms of the contract do not permit it. Nevertheless, creditors may be surprised to discover that the Automatic Stay not only assists the debtor, but can also serve to protect a creditor. By staying all actions against property of the debtor's estate, the assets of the debtor can be preserved and a single creditor cannot deplete all of the debtor's assets to the detriment of other creditors. The Stay allows for orderly distribution of assets to creditors and/or time for the debtor to formulate a plan to treat all of its creditors fairly.

Creditors may also obtain relief from the Automatic Stay upon a showing of cause warranting such relief, such as the proof of a lack of adequate protection for creditors or failure to pay post-filing obligations on contracts and leases. Property with no equity and that is not necessary for an effective reorganization may be subject to relief from the Stay.

Benefit to Creditors

Creditors can also benefit from a Chapter 11 reorganization if the debtor is able to reemerge as a functioning entity. A Chapter 11 reorganization plan may lead to payment of the debt. While the payment may not be immediate or in full, it is often more than what would have been received in a Chapter 7 liquidation.

Finally, creditors will have an element of control over the debtor. Upon the filing of a Chapter 11, the debtor provides the court with schedules listing all of its assets and liabilities. These schedules inform the creditor as to where all of the debtor's assets are located and what priority will apply to the creditor. The creditor can therefore monitor the debtor's reorganization and assert some control over the debtor's actions. In short, a creditor will discover that the filing of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy is not necessarily the end of the world and that the creditor as well as the debtor can actually benefit.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Foreclosure Evictions

One of Gross & Romanick's practice areas is Commercial Landlord & Tenant law. Services include: Drafting of the lease and other agreements; evictions; self-help; bankruptcy impact; and litigation. Evictions, which are becoming more and more common in today's sluggish economy, can become complicated cases that require the subtle touch of experienced legal representation.

One of Gross & Romanick's recent cases is a perfect example of just how complicated an eviction case can become. In this particular Foreclosure Eviction the occupant refused to leave. After the occupant of the premises tried everything he could to stay in the premises and reverse the foreclosure—including convincing the sheriff to suspend four scheduled evictions, a plethora of Motions, A Circuit Court Complaint seeking an injunction, Appeals and the filing of two separate Bankruptcy Petitions, all of which led to litigation in the Fairfax County General District Court, the Fairfax County Circuit Court, The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia—he was successfully evicted from the Premises with the help of eight deputy sheriffs, a lock smith and a crew of 14 movers.

After eviction, Gross & Romanick's client wrote to express her appreciation for the firm's work:

Hi Ed and Jeff -

Thanks again for all your help and consideration. The last 6 months you have been a great support for us; your efforts made this ordeal less painful. We really appreciate your immediate action for each eviction. Without your help we probably would have given up a long time ago.

The only positive side of this case was all the support and help we received from your office!

If you are a commercial landlord or property owner facing a difficult eviction, seeking experienced legal representation is the best and first step you can take to ensure a positive outcome.

Contact Gross & Romanick today at 703-273-1400 or visit our website.