Someone got arrested and used my name. I think this is identity theft. I know who the person is. I really don’t want to see them get arrested for identity theft or any other white collar crime. They never went to court for the case, so now there is an active bench warrant. When I apply for a job it comes up as me being arrested with an open bench warrant. I am concerned that if I get pulled over for a traffic issue, I am going to get locked up. I went to the police station where the arrest occurred and asked the commanding officer if there was anything I could do to get this removed from my records. He told me no, not while there is an active bench warrant. Is this true? Is there anything that I can do?
You have two separate choices, but you can do them both at the same time.
First, you can file a Rule To Show Cause in the court of Common Pleas in the county in which the arrest occurred, coupled with an expungement petition. The rule would request that the District Attorney’s Office show why the record shouldn’t be moved off your identity. They may still keep it as your name, but remove your social security number and driver’s license number from the arrest so that it doesn’t show under your name when someone runs a criminal history on you if won’t come up. Obviously there could be two people with your name so the DA can keep the “other” file open.
Assuming the person was finger printed and his photo was taken, the District Attorney’s Office will most likely not oppose the motion, so the judge will sign the order for expungement. If the judge denies the petition, you can appeal to the Superior Court where I think you would win.
Second, you can always administratively challenge the way your criminal history is reported. This is call a Criminal History Record Act (CHRA) challenge. What happens is that you file the challenge in the state attorney general’s office and a hearing is conducted with a senior AG as the administrative law judge. You would simply show up at the hearing and tell the AG the person who was arrested is not you and you want it cleared up under the CHRA. If you lose there, you can appeal the ruling to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, which reviews administrative rules.
If you are still out of luck after both of the above, you can appeal to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania or go to the local police and tell them who really did this.