What Happens if Someone Commits a Crime Under My Identity?
Identity theft is bad enough without making things worse for the victim by committing a crime under the false identity. Criminal identity theft occurs when someone charged with a crime uses your identifying information, such as your name or driver’s license. The police will record the crime under the wrong person’s name – giving you a criminal record when you never committed the crime. Criminal identity theft is a complex crime that can lead to significant legal trouble for you as a victim.
You Could Face Arrest
Many victims of criminal identity theft do not realize the crime has occurred until it is too late and they already have a criminal record. The police may pull you over for a routine traffic stop, for example, only to run your information through the database and place you under arrest for outstanding warrants in the next state over. You know you did not commit these crimes, but the police may not listen. You could end up under arrest and detained at the nearest police station for crimes you did not commit.
Most criminal identity theft cases occur during traffic stops. The identity thief will give the police officer someone else’s information during a stop for speeding or reckless driving, which will go on the books as the identity of the person who committed the violation. The imposter may then ignore the summons to court – resulting in a warrant for the arrest of the person whose name the thief gave. The police may then arrest that person instead of the person who actually committed the crime.
Cooperate With the Police
If the police in North Carolina arrest you for a crime you know you did not commit, cooperate with them anyway. An arrest is not the time nor place to argue about criminal identity theft. The police most likely will not listen and will place you under arrest anyway. Resisting arrest may only lead to additional criminal charges and potentially violence, such as the arresting officer using force to handcuff you.
Cooperate with the police, but do not admit to committing a crime. Calmly and politely explain there has been a mistake and that you are not the person who violated the law. Allow the police to take you to the nearest station. The police may fingerprint you and take a mugshot to book you.
Continue answering any police questions with the truth – that you did not commit the crimes and that you have been the victim of criminal identity theft. You can also politely decline to answer questions until you have an attorney present. Once you have the opportunity to make a phone call, contact a Raleigh criminal defense firm. An experience criminal defense lawyer could help you get out of jail and prove your innocence.
Take Proactive Measures
You may find out about criminal identity theft before an arrest. For example, an employer may run your information only to refuse to give you the job because of a criminal record. Once you discover criminal identity theft, contact your local law enforcement agency. You will need to start the process of clearing your name and record right away. You may need to visit the office and give them your fingerprints to prove your identity.
The consumer protection industry has grown in the last
decade due to a higher number of identity theft claims. You may have security programs
connected to your bank accounts, credit cards and investments. Unfortunately, it
is more difficult to find a service that will safeguard your criminal record. This
is why many victims do not realize someone has committed criminal identity
theft against them until they are in jail for crimes they did not commit. Contact
your identity theft protection service, if you have one. It may offer
remediation services such as legal assistance.