Of course, this is like those disclaimers on television: DON'T TRY THIS YOURSELF
You need an experienced criminal defense attorney who can provide evidence to the District Attorney to show they have the wrong person.
Sometimes it takes some digging. For instance, there may be a jail booking photo, or mug shot, that shows the person arrested isn't you. In the case where your appearance is similar, you may have to do a fingerprint comparison. (I've handled a number of cases where someone has stolen a family member's identity.)
There was also one case where the DA didn't bother to watch the videotape of a convenience store robbery. My client had been arrested a few blocks away, and the store clerk said he was positive the cops had the right guy. After viewing the tape, I called the DA and said, "You might want to see this!" The robber looked nothing like my client!
Get a factual finding of innocence
Getting the case dismissed proves the DA couldn't prove the charges, but it doesn't prove you were actually innocent. You need to get a judge to say you were actually innocent.
Fortunately, this is usually pretty simple when the DA agrees you're the victim of identity theft. Your lawyer can file the paperwork, and the judge will issue the order saying you're innocent.
Get your information listed with the California Attorney General's identity theft database
If you follow steps One and Two above, you're eligible to be in the state identity theft database, which is available to law enforcement (and anyone else you designate) 24 hours a day.
It can keep you from getting arrested for the other person's crimes again.
Several years ago, a colleague's client knew someone had given the cops his name after an arrest for auto theft. The thief had been sentenced to prison under the guy's name, served his time, and never reported to the parole office after being released from prison. Parole officers showed up at the client's house several times, but each time were satisfied the client wasn't the escaped parolee.
The, one day, the client was pulled over in the Central Valley for a minor traffic violation and, before he knew it, was on a bus to San Quentin for the thief's parole violation. It tool several weeks to get the poor guy out of prison!
Being in the ID theft database would have prevented that. A lawyer can help you do it.
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