Criminal ID Theft
Criminal identity theft can occur when a criminal, during an investigation or when arrested, gives your name and information to law enforcement instead of his or her own. Victims of criminal identity theft sometimes get arrested or convicted for crimes someone else committed using their name.
If you are a victim of criminal identity theft, learn more about identity theft. Then create a personalized recovery plan at IdentityTheft.gov, and follow the steps in your plan.
In conjunction with those steps, here are some tips for dealing with criminal charges you might face as a victim of criminal identity theft. If possible bring a copy of your ID Theft Report (consisting of your Affidavit and police report) when you meet with prosecutors or other court officials.
You may want to consult with a private attorney for worthless check and traffic court charges. If you face other criminal charges and you can't convince prosecutors to drop them, or if you have to go to court to try to have a guilty verdict or plea set aside, it's best to consult with a private attorney.
Worthless Check Charges
If you have worthless check charges against you because of an identity thief, notify the bank. Close the account to prevent future drafts from it and watch for any drafts that aren’t yours. Send a copy of your police report or your ID Theft Report to each business that received a worthless check in your name.
Talk with the Assistant District Attorney that is assigned to your worthless check case. You may have to submit to a signature comparison and go to court and defend the charges.
Traffic Court: Failure to Appear
When an identity thief gets a traffic ticket, the thief may give his or her victim’s information to police. If the thief fails to appear in court, the victim is the one who gets in trouble.
Discuss your situation with the Assistant District Attorney that is assigned to traffic court in that county. Keep in mind that assistant DAs generally cannot dismiss a charge based on a telephone call. Contact the charging officer. You may need to schedule a time to meet with the officer to prove that you were not the person charged.
You may have to attend court to defend the traffic ticket. The failure to appear charge should be dismissed once you show up for court.
Traffic Court: Guilty Pleas
If an ID thief pleads guilty while using your name, discuss your situation with the Assistant District Attorney assigned to traffic court in that county.
Some courts require that you file a Motion to Set Aside Judgment or Motion for Appropriate Relief where the perpetrator has plead guilty. You may be required to go to court to prove that you were not the person charged.
Other Criminal Charges
Contact the charging officer. Schedule a time to meet with the officer to prove that you were not the person charged. If you don’t live nearby, ask law enforcement in your area to take your picture and fingerprints and send them to the charging officer or Assistant District Attorney.
The officer or the Assistant District Attorney should investigate the matter and let you know if the charges or conviction will be dismissed. They may request additional information and documents. If the charges aren’t dropped, you may have to go to court.
If you’re a victim of criminal identity theft whose charges were dismissed, or if you were found not guilty or your conviction was set aside, you may apply to have those charges or convictions expunged (removed) from your record. Be aware that expungement is a lengthy process and it may take many months before it is completed.