Identity theft occurs when someone steals your name, driver’s license number, Social Security number, or birth date and uses the information to obtain credit in your name, access your financial accounts, and much more. In the worst cases, the individual may commit a crime, and you may find that you have a criminal record when you did nothing wrong.
Unfortunately, law enforcement agencies will not automatically remove the false criminal charges from your record. You will need to ask the court to grant you an expungement of the criminal charges against you.
What Is an Expungement?
An expungement is the process of removing a criminal charge from a person’s record when they were not found guilty of the crime. The charges are sealed from view by the public, but they can still be accessed by the police if they get prior court permission.
Expungements are only granted in limited circumstances in Virginia. Fortunately, individuals whose names or identifications were used when committing a crime without their knowledge or consent are eligible for an expungement.
How to Obtain an Expungement in an Identity Theft Case
The procedure for requesting an expungement of your criminal charges is a little easier when you are the victim of identity theft. In other cases, you must file your petition in Circuit Court, which will make the process longer. If you were the victim of identity theft, you can file your petition in District Court or Juvenile Court where a criminal charge was brought against you.
You would still need to file a petition with a certified copy of the criminal charges to be expunged and attend a court hearing. Once your request is granted, you will need to obtain a certified copy of the order granting the expungement. Here is what you will need to do next:
- File the certified copy of the order with the attorney general’s office. They will prepare a document called an identity theft passport, which is a card designed to protect identity theft victims.
- You can send a copy of the identity theft passport to the DMV to correct any incorrect information on your driving record. You can also submit it to the State Police and local law enforcement when necessary.
- You should carry your identity theft passport and present it to the police if you become the victim of an identity theft crime. This document could help avoid being falsely charged with another offense.
While it is more straightforward when asking for an identity theft expungement, filing your petition is complicated. You need the help of an experienced expungement lawyer if you want the process to go smoothly and have your request for an expungement granted. To learn how we can assist you, call our office to schedule your free consultation today.