Some background. About 7 years ago a woman was convicted of several charges stemming from the fact that, as a city employee, she used my name, address, driver’s license and social security numbers to obtain a fake ID using my name. She then wrote fraudulent checks on the city account and cashed them. While I was going through the evidence with police, I noticed that some of the checks were signed over to other people, and that she had used different variations of my name - sometimes spelled differently, sometimes with a different first or last name. They were also sometimes cashed at other banks than the one she normally used, including some in the county I now reside in. That leads me to believe there was at least two folks involved in this scheme, but that may not be relevant becuase I don’t know if the person convicted ever actually served time behind bars.
Fast forward 4 years, and I’m sitting at a traffic light on a Sunday evening heading to the drugstore. A “bored” (as he later told me) cop behind me decided to start running tag numbers of everyone in front of him. Mine was a hit, and I was arrested on a no-bond warrant for hot checks.
I learned from the attorney assigned to me (court-appointed because I was between jobs) that apparently “I” had been arrested and appeared in court already for the offense and was put into some sort of arrangement where “I” was to come back to court on a periodic basis, as far as I could tell that was to make installments on the restitution and fines. Apparently at some point “I” quit coming to court and the no-bond warrant was issued. I’m convinced this person was involved in the original identity theft - in fact, if it was the same person, she may have even quit showing up to court becuase she was sentenced to jail on the other charges. After all, the dates on the checks correspond to the few months the police were speaking to me about the original ID theft and fraudulent checks. But, it doesn’t really matter, the fact remains I did not write those checks and I have never appeared in court for anything (except family court).
When I told the attorney that I had not written any hot checks, and about the previous ID theft, he recommended I stay in jail until my court date came up, which of course could be months into the future, because he felt he could easily get me off. The thing is, I had a then-minor child at home alone and a job starting the following Monday. I wanted to plead quilty and get out of there. I told the attorney staying in jail for months would do way more harm to my life than having a little misdemeanor on my record. He also told me that if I plead guilty I have absolutely no recourse ever again for appeal, etc. Much to his dismay I plead guilty, was given 10 days, and with good time got out within hours of starting my new job.
Well, now I’ve been laid off from that job, and almost five months later I still have not found a new one. And I know why - evidently I either wasn’t paying attention before (since it didn’t matter) or things have changed drastically in the last three years - because it seems now, no one will hire anyone with a criminal record, even if you have only one conviction for a non-violent misdemeanor. I can’t even get a job at 7-11 or the local grocery store.
When I was arrested I was fingerprinted and photographed. I can’t believe that the person who was arrested originally wasn’t also fingerprinted and photographed. Those fingerprints and photographs have to be somewhere, and it should be possible to compare them and prove that the person who was originally arrested was not me. In fact, after I was back home and enough time had passed that I could think clearly, I was a little miffed that my attorney didn’t request those fingerprints and photographs. But then, maybe he had planned to do that before I plead quilty.
How would I go about getting this done? And can it even be done since I plead quilty? Does this come under the “no appeal” provision? And even if I can prove the person who was originally arrested was not me, does that then mean that the conviction will be removed from my record?
Please be aware I am NOT seeking legal advice - I’m just trying to find out if I SHOULD seek legal advice.