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Do I have any recourse to prevent potential employers from finding my name linked to crime or will this always be a problem for me?

Wednesday December 18, 2013
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Whenever I apply for a job and potential employers run an online check on my name, my name comes up because of a criminal in the database who has a similar name as me.

Do I have any recourse to prevent this from happening or will this always be a problem for me? What can I do so potential employers are not discouraged by what always turns out to be mistaken identity?


Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Howard,

This situation must be discouraging for you. You do need to be proactive, and clear up this case of mistaken identity (sometimes called "mistaken identity conviction").

Your best bet is to retain a nurse attorney or attorney who works in the area of criminal law that can help you correct this problem. There may not be an easy solution since many criminal databases exist (both federal and state), but your entire future rests on clearing up this identity issue. It will take time so you should do so as soon as possible.

You can locate an attorney by contacting your state and/or local bar association referral service. These services most often screen applicant members for years of service and other characteristics before listing them as a referral. The referral service may charge a small fee for the names of the attorneys they suggest, and the money goes to operating the service.

A second option is to see if a colleague or friend has used an attorney due to a criminal charge in the past. If that attorney cannot help you with this matter, he or she may have a colleague who handles such matters.


Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.