An ordeal that had me nervous and angry came to a conclusion late this past week. But was it a happy ending?
As I documented via this blog (here and here), I had some scumbag steal my identity. This criminal had obtained my driver’s license information and used it when he got pulled over for tinted windows in South Brooklyn. The officer didn’t notice the scam and I was charged with the infraction.
When I received the letter in the mail notifying me of the ticket I thought it was a joke, a piece of junk mail that aimed to take advantage of vulnerable people. But when I called the New York State DMV just to be on the safe side the person on the other end of the line told me it was legit. I would have to fight the charge.
The people in New York sent me an Affidavit In Lieu of Appearance Form to fill out. The single sided sheet had some questions to answer and then a few lines to explain why I was not guilty. The directions explained that I could continue writing on the back of the form if I felt the need to. Oh you better believe I felt the need to…
I sent a folder to the Brooklyn South Traffic Violation Office filled with information that screamed my innocence. Of course the affidavit form, which I had to get notarized, came first. I neatly filled it out and used the lines provided to succinctly summarize my case. I found additional space to invite the judge to view the attached information.
Next came a letter I typed out that politely explained how it was impossible that the person pulled over on August 25 was me. I wrote in 11 point font and used up the whole page. I explained how I had never driven a vehicle in New York, how I had never used tinted windows, how I had never even sat in the type of vehicle that the con artist was driving when pulled over. I explained my job, my schedule, and my situation, making it more than clear that there was no way in hell that I could have been in New York this past August.
New York police officers are supposedly trained to have photographic memories. When I talked to the New York DMV representative on the phone, she told me to include a photo of myself. The officer would know right away if it was me or not when he/she viewed the photo in court. I was going to give them much more than what they bargained for. I took pictures off my refrigerator and included them in the packet. I included a photo from September 1, the image that was taken closest to the infraction date. I included a flash drive that contained numerous photos of me with short hair, longer hair, and wearing a hat. I wanted to make it obvious that no matter my physical state, I could not have been the person with the tinted windows.
I made photo copies of my driver’s license. I included my time card from work, clearly showing that I was on the Coastal Carolina campus for the full day on that August date. I even included a newspaper article on myself that not only included an additional photo of me but also was written in a way that effectively conveyed that I am not the type of person to cruise the streets of Brooklyn with tinted windows.
My favorite piece of evidence I sent in though was a video of myself pleading my case. I wanted to make sure that the officer just didn’t see me but heard me as well. In two minutes I respectfully thanked the South Brooklyn Traffic Violations Office for the chance to appeal and then I lined out my case. I pretty much summarized the evidence included in the folder, using the video as a big exclamation point. I threw the file on the flash drive that included my supplemental photos. I took all the materials to the post office, placed them in a large manila envelope, and sent it off to New York via certified mail.
Would it be enough?
Wednesday night I received my answer. I ripped open the standard envelope from New York to find my vindication. On a single sheet of paper, the word dismissed was highlighted. My name had been cleared.
Of course it is still very concerning that the person who used my identification information is still out there. Will the state of New York trace the license plate number of the car that received the ticket and investigate or question the owner? I doubt it. But fresh off my victory at the mercy of the state, I didn’t want to press it right away. I do hope though that in the near future the officer who took the bait and issued me the ticket will do some police work and try to hold this dishonest person accountable.
I am pleased that this situation is now behind me. Thanks to my readers for all the support. While I know something like this could very well happen to me again, I am crossing my fingers that I am good for the time being. Don’t Blink.