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ITRC Solution 06

The following are general steps you must take to clear your name of an erroneous criminal record. These procedures are likely to vary somewhat from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Working with Law Enforcement Agencies:

  • Contact the arresting law enforcement agency
  • Explain this is a case of misidentification and that someone is using your personal information.
  • Request that the arresting law enforcement agency indicate what form/s of identification or biometric data were collected or captured at the time of arrest or citation (fingerprints, mug shot). Get as much detail about the crime as possible. Who, what, where, when. This information will help you to prove your innocence.
  • Contact your local law enforcement agency.
  • File a “false personation”/identity theft report.
  • Ask your local law enforcement agency to take prints and verify your identity and forward directly to the arresting law enforcement agency. They may want:
  1. A full set of your fingerprints
  2. Your photograph
  3. Any photo identification documents such as a driver’s license, passport, or U.S. legal presence documents.
  • If fingerprints were NOT taken by the arresting law enforcement agency; use signature verification and any relative remarks made on the arrest or citation form by the officer, i.e. scars, marks, tattoos, and height and weight.
  • Request that the arresting law enforcement agency compare the prints and/or photographs to establish your innocence, once your identity has been established, the arresting law enforcement agency should recall any warrants and issue a “clearance letter” or certificate of release (if you were arrested/booked) which you will need to keep in your possession at all times.
  • Request that the arresting law enforcement agency file with the district attorney’s office and/or court of jurisdiction the follow-up investigation.
  • Request that the arresting law enforcement agency change all records from your name to the imposter’s true identity or to John Doe if unknown.
  • Request the arresting law enforcement agency forward a clearance update to the levels of databases that must be cleared include city, county, state, and federal data bases.

Note: Due to authentication issues, most law enforcement agencies will only accept this information in person, or by submission from another law enforcement agency.

Working with the Court:

You will need to determine the specific law(s) in your state that enable you to clear your name in the court records. A judge or magistrate will be required to make this determination.

From the court you will need to request:

  • A declaration that you are factually innocent of charges based upon the follow-up impersonation investigation by the law enforcement agency, or declarations, affidavits, or other material and relevant information.
  • This action will change the name on the arrest records and the warrant of arrest to that of the imposter (if the true identity of the imposter is known).
  • Your name will then be known as an alias of the imposter.
  • The court should be requested to provide written verification for you to carry.


If tickets or driving records are involved the victim should contact the Department/Bureau of Motor Vehicles:

  • Ask to speak to the fraud department or investigator.
  • Explain that you are a victim of identity theft
  • Ask for the required procedure to prove you are innocent (perhaps sending letter of clearance from the law enforcement agency).


What additional considerations should I be aware of regarding employment?

Follow the steps above then follow up with background check companies individually and with each perspective employer.

Even though you may have cleared up the records with the local, state and federal systems, it is possible for negative information to still pop up on a background report. If this should occur, you must ask the company which background screening company they used. You will then need to show your documentation of clearance to that background screening company in order to clear their records. You probably will also want to provide the clearance documents directly to the employer to help defuse the matter.

This solution sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to