Identity Theft and Traffic TicketsPosted on
If someone steals your identity and receives speeding tickets using your name, you can be arrested and your driver’s license suspended if the traffic ticket fines are not paid.
Identity theft involving traffic tickets is surprisingly common, and often the perpetrator is a relative or friend who had access to your personal information at some point.
What is Identity Theft?
When someone impersonates you by using your personal information, it’s called “identity theft.” The person who uses your identity could be a stranger who stole your purse, or it might be a relative or co-worker who has access to your home or office where you keep personal information.
Identity Thieves Give Police Your Personal Information When Asked for Identification
For example, let’s say you have a sister who bears some physical resemblance to you and knows your driver’s license number and social security number. If she is pulled over for speeding, she could easily give your personal information to the police officer and claim that she recently lost her driver’s license.
She could also tell the police officer that she is borrowing a friend’s car, which would explain why the information associated with your driver’s license number doesn’t match the make and model of the car that your sister is driving.
Any traffic tickets the police officer issues will be in your name and you will never know about them until it’s too late.
You Can be Arrested and Your License Suspended for Traffic Tickets You Never Knew About
The person who stole your identity will probably not pay the fine for a traffic ticket she received using your personal information. If she does pay the fine, points will be added to your driving record, which can cause your license to be suspended or revoked if too many points accumulate on your driving record within a certain period of time.
If the person who stole your identity doesn’t pay the fine, a warrant for your arrest will be issued and the court might also place a hold on your license, which will suspend your driving privileges until the fine is paid.
If a police officer pulls you over for a traffic violation or if he scans your license plates and sees that you have an active arrest warrant, you could end up in jail because of a warrant for a traffic violation you didn’t commit and never knew existed. Click here for more information about how to get a warrant lifted.
What to Do if You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
If someone using your personal information is arrested or receives traffic tickets in your name, then your personal information will be falsely reported in arrest records and court files. Correcting the problem can be difficult. Following are some suggestions for what to do if you are the victim of identity theft:
- Go to the police department and file a police report for identity theft. You will be fingerprinted and you may have to sign an affidavit. If the person who stole your identity is ever arrested, then the police can compare the fingerprints.
- Appear in court on your court date, or hire an attorney to represent you, for any charges that have been issued in your name. If you have an alibi for the date and time that the offense occurred, your attorney may be able to convince the judge to dismiss the charges against you. You don’t have to prove who stole your identity–you just need to show that the person the police arrested or ticketed was not you.
- File a Petition for Correction of Arrest/Court Records – Identity Theft with the court in the county where the false arrest or court records are located.
- Contact the Driver’s License Bureau of the Missouri Department of Revenue and ask them to “flag” your driver’s license. This will prevent someone who has stolen your identity from obtaining a duplicate copy of your driver’s license. You must file a police report before the Department of Revenue will flag your license.
- Obtain a copy of your credit report to see if any new accounts appear that are not yours. You can ask the credit bureaus to put a fraud alert on your credit report.
- Notify your credit card providers (Visa, Mastercard, etc. ) of the identity theft and ask them to put a fraud alert on your account.
- 99% of identity theft happens through the mail. Call the U.S. Postal Inspectors at (800) 876-2455 if you believe you are the victim of identity theft involving use of the U.S. mail.
- Call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490 and file an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit. Many people have had their tax refunds stolen by identity thieves who filed tax returns using their personal information.
You May Have to Pay the Identity Thief’s Traffic Ticket Fines
Unfortunately, the judge won’t just take your word for it if you go to court and claim the traffic tickets were issued to someone who stole your identity. To prevent a warrant being issued and points added to your driving record, you may have no choice but to pay the fines for tickets that the identity thief received while using your name.
You can hire an attorney to get the tickets amended to non-moving, no-point infractions so they won’t affect your driving record or car insurance rates, but you will still have to pay fines and court costs.
Contact St. Louis traffic law attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or email her at [email protected] for advice about your Missouri speeding ticket or warrant.
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