Law Office of Steven J Karen   

702-382-9307  2810 West Charleston, Suite 82 Las Vegas, Nevada 89102

IDENTITY THEFT

IDENTITY THEFT: WHAT DO I DO IF SOMEONE STOLE MY IDENTITY AND I RECEIVED A WARRANT OR A TRAFFIC CITATION OR A CRIMINAL CHARGE IN MY NAME?

Identify theft can be a difficult situation to clear up. However there are several things you can do to defend yourself in this situation. I always recommend filing a police report to document the identity theft. I strongly advise that you hire a lawyer who has handled this kind of case. I have successfully defended many identity theft cases. You should be aware that this defense is frequently raised especially in traffic court. In other words the court often hears "somebody else told the officer they were me." The court will not simply dismiss the case based on your statement that you are the victim of identity theft. You will need to plead not guilty and set the case for trial. Nevada Revised Statute 178.388 allows a defendant to waive his appearance at a misdemeanor trial. However the defendant has to execute a proper form waiving his right to appear at the trial and his right to testify. The form must be approved by the court prior to trial. See, State v. Sargent, 128 P.3d 1052, 122 Nev. 210 (Nev., 2006) . Because the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant is the person who committed the crime (or traffic violation) the absence of the Defendant at trial can make it more difficult for the prosecution to prove their case.
Most people are not arrested when they receive a traffic citation so there will usually be no photograph taken of the person who was driving. There will be a signature. Your signature can be compared to the signature on the citation. A handwriting expert can be consulted in a situation like this. The citation will also describe the height, weight and race of the driver. Normally the citation will indicate whether or not the person identified themselves with a drivers license and the time and date of the citation. If the citation indicates a drivers license was shown, then the question becomes how the person got a hold of your drivers license, whether or not they look like you (such as a twin) or whether it was a phony license. The citation will include the vehicle description and license plates. It will also state who the vehicle was registered to. If it is not your vehicle that will help your defense. In my experience more often then not a friend or relative turns out to be the perpetrator. An alibi defense may also be available in a case like this. If you have proof that you were somewhere else at the time of the citation that is also an absolute defense.
This can be a complex problem. If this is your situation call me at (702) 382-9307. I can help