Business Concerns: Bankruptcy and Intellectual Property Issues

According to statistics gathered by Forbes from the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses have been responsible for generating 65 percent of new net jobs since the year 1995. The data also approximate that around 543,000 new businesses get established every month. Despite the active role they play in today’s economy, small businesses can also be a challenge to get started and run. In fact, the SBA’s data show that 7 out of 10 newly opened businesses survive at least two years, about 5 of 10 last until 5 years, and a third remain open for 10 years. Only a quarter of small businesses stay open for 15 years or more.

How can business owners ensure the longevity of their livelihoods? Most of the time, small businesses shut down due to financial issues. Other times, small businesses are forced to shut down because of legal hurdles. Here, we will address two of the most common concerns that might arise for small business owners. Learning these issues will help business owners prepare for scenarios that might cost the stability of their firms or establishments.

Addressing Debt Problems

A small business that’s just starting out will require plenty of resources to gain stability and longevity. In order to do this, most business owners take out loans in order to fully fund their operations during the start of their run. Unfortunately, there are times when these debts pile up and cause heavy financial burden on the business. These scenarios are especially common considering the constant variations in the economy and business cycle in the recent years. In most cases, businesses can address debt problems and regain financial stability by filing for either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Intellectual Property Protection

Another common hurdle for small business owners are issues involving intellectual property. Small businesses thrive when they are able to maintain a unique brand identity. Having specialized logos and products or services ensure that they keep a competitive edge. When particular aspects of a business are infringed by another, a business owner can lose a lot of valuable market opportunity. According to the website of Gagnon, Peacock, & Veerke, P.C., common intellectual property issues include copyright infringement, trade dress infringement, and unfair competition.

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California Traffic Laws: When is a DUI Considered a Felony?

Drunk driving is considered a serious offense across America. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were a total number of 32,719 alcohol-related traffic fatalities for 2013 nationwide. Considering the high rate these accidents occur, it’s easy to why drunk driving is often met with harsh punishment. Even as policies vary from state to state, anyone charged with driving under the influence (DUI) can expect to meet some pretty steep penalties. In California, for example, certain circumstances involving drunk driving violations can be charged with a felony.

According to California traffic laws, an individual operating a vehicle with blood alcohol content (BAC) that exceeds a specific level can be charged and later convicted with a DUI. The first three DUI offenses are often considered misdemeanors. A DUI arrest becomes a felony when the driver involved commits a fourth offense within the span of 10 years or causes vehicular homicide. A DUI can also be considered a felony if it involves other traffic violations such as reckless driving.

Similar to most states in America, California DUI laws mandate that private individuals are not allowed to drive with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher. The rules are more stringent for drivers of commercial vehicles—having a BAC level at or above 0.04 percent is illegal. Meanwhile, driving with a BAC level above 0.01 percent for anyone younger than 21 will merit and DUI charge.

Penalties for a felony DUI will depend on the circumstances of an arrest. If the incident is proven to have caused personal injury, the defendant will have to undergo a restitution hearing and pay a specified amount to cover damages. Meanwhile, a driver proven to have committed a fourth DUI offense within 10 years could end up facing a maximum of 180 days in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and a four-year license suspension.

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