Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gross & Romanick's Fairfax injury lawyers provide serious results for individuals in the Washington DC metro area. If you have a personal injury, wrongful death or accident case in Maryland, Northern Virginia, or Washington DC we have experienced attorneys that can help you.

If you've been injured in a car accident or have lost a loved one as the result of the negligent or intentional conduct of another individual, we can help you. We understand 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

To find out more about how the attorneys at Gross & Romanick can help you with your personal injury case, contact us today by calling 703-273-1400 or by filling out our online Information Request form.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Avoid Personal Liability: Always Use Legal Name of Business

In Virginia, a business entity properly registered with the State Corporation Commission (“SCC”) is a legal entity, separate and independent of its owners. Accordingly, unless it is necessary to promote justice, a business owner cannot be held responsible for the obligations of his/her business.

Nevertheless, business owners can quickly lose this shield of protection if they fail to disclose to third parties with whom they do business that they are acting in the capacity of an agent for the business, and not in their individual capacity. If this agency relationship is not disclosed (i.e third parties do not know they are doing business with an entity as opposed to an individual), the business owner may be held personally responsible for the obligations of the entity.

The same situation applies for business entities that use tradenames. If the tradename is not properly registered with the SCC, and the actual legal name of the entity is not disclosed to third parties, the business owner can be held personally responsible for the obligations of the entity.

Accordingly, it is very important for a business owner to make sure that all business correspondence (including letters, e-mails, contracts, agreements, business cards, etc.) clearly states the full legal name of the business. The full legal name includes the acronym identifying the form of the business entity (i.e. “Inc.”, “LLC”, “PC”, “LP”, etc.). When signing for the business, owners should always designate their title next to their name (i.e. President, CEO, etc. ) or use the term “authorized agent”. If a tradename is being used by the business, then it must be properly registered with the SCC. If not, all business correspondence must clearly state the actual legal name of the business, and not just the tradename.

Gross & Romanck, P.C. is currently representing an individual business owner being sued by a vendor for a debt of his business. The business had placed a purchase order with the vendor for expensive industrial machinery. When the business failed to pay for the machinery in full, the vendor sued the owner in his personal capacity for the debt. The vendor is relying upon the fact that the purchase order does not disclose the legal name of the business to argue that the order was placed by the owner, and not his business.

The lawsuit could have been avoided if the purchase order clearly identified the full legal name of the business or if the tradename had been properly filed with the SCC.

Do not let this happen to you! Always make sure that the full legal name of your business entity is disclosed to the third parties with whom your entity does business; and make sure that you always sign as an agent of the business.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Can you have your criminal record expunged?

Yes. In Virginia, under certain circumstances a person charged with a criminal offense may remove the police and court records relating to the charge. An expungement of an arrest record requires filing of a petition with the Court.

An expungement can only be granted if either: (a) the individual was acquitted of the offense (i.e. found not guilty), (b) the prosecutor requested the court to dismiss the charge, or (c) the charge must have been "otherwise dismissed". Even if the case was dismissed by the court, an expungement will not be granted if the individual pled guilty to the offense or the Court found there to be sufficient evidence for a finding of guilt.

An expungement will not be granted in cases of a "deferred disposition" in which the court dismissed a charge after an individual completes certain actions within a timeframe set by the Court (i.e. complete community service, attend ASAP class, etc.) if the deferred disposition requires a plea of guilty or the Court finds sufficient evidence for a finding of guilt. A plea of "no contest" may also prevent an expungement.

While the Commonwealth Attorney can agree or object to an expungement, it is granted at the discretion of the Court based upon "good cause" shown. In addition to meeting the criteria for expungement, the Court must also find that the continued existence and possible dissemination of information relating to the charge causes or may cause circumstances which constitute a manifest injustice to the individual. Generally the Court requires that an individual have no prior criminal record similar to the charge that is being expunged.

If an expungement is granted, the record of the arrest will be removed entirely from the records of the Court, the local/county police, and the federal Department of Criminal Justice Services.

Expungement is one of Gross & Romanick's primary criminal practice areas. Other practice areas include: Reckless Driving; DWI/DUI; Traffic Defense; Felonies; Juvenile Court; Expungement; Misdemeanors; Drug Charges; and Appeals. To speak to one of our attorneys, please contact Gross & Romanick by calling 703-273-1400 or by filling out our online Information Request form.