Many Australians have a criminal record for a range of offences across various degrees of crimes.
Having a record may affect your life according to how recent the offences were and who’s wanting access to your record.
James Dowsley and Associates are criminal lawyers in Melbourne who can help you understand what having a police record means and come to a hearing with you.
What is a criminal record and how do you get one?
In Australia, authorities may request special access to your police criminal record as well as your criminal driving record.
Your driving record will indicate:
- If you have been charged with drinking and driving
- If you’ve received speeding fines or other driving fines
- If you’ve lost demerit points
- Any other driving offences where you were found guilty
National police checks are kept by the Australian Federal Police on their Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) database.
These checks can be assessed on special request by people such as:
- A potential employer
- A judge
- A national crime authority investigator
- Your Superannuation company
- Government officials
- A police prosecutor
Crimes that may be on your criminal record include:
- Identity fraud
- Disorderly public behaviour
- Drug trafficking
Some road offences may also be simultaneously on your criminal and Vicroads record, such as drug or drunk driving.
These are called infringement convictions. Our traffic offence lawyers can assist you if you have been charged or accused of a driving, traffic, or drink driving offence.
How can a conviction record affect my future?
Having a police record may impact the following:
- Getting a job
- Renting or buying a house
- Applying for a loan
The LEAP database has a record of all your interactions with the justice system – even if you’ve been found not guilty.
Does having a criminal record affect employment?
Having a criminal record can affect your employment.
Not all jobs require a police check during the hiring process, but they might, especially for jobs involving children or vulnerable people.
Employees must get your permission before conducting a police check and you’ll often have to sign documentation to have one done.
Jobs may not hire you if they find you have committed certain offences and may not hire you if you refuse to let them undertake a police check.
Speak to our criminal lawyers in Dandenong if you are worried about the outcome of a police check for employment.
How far back does a police check go?
A crime is considered a “spent conviction” when it is no longer on your publicly accessible record.
A conviction is considered “immediately spent” when:
- The Court does not record a conviction
- There is a qualified finding of guilt under the CMIA Act or related foreign law
- The offence was committed when a person was under the age of 15
- The penalty was a fine imposed by the Children’s Court; or
- It is an infringement conviction; and
- The person completes all conditions attached to the penalty.
A conviction that is not immediately spent, and is not a serious conviction becomes spent on the day the conviction period expires, being:
- Five (5) years for a person under the age of 21 on the day of finding of guilt; or
- Ten (10) years for a person over the age of 21 on the day of finding of guilt
Serious convictions are convictions where:
- Imprisonment or detention exceeds 30 months;
- It relates to sexual offences; or
- It relates to serious violence offences
In the near future, JDA will be creating a new blog post delving into the new ‘Spent Conviction Scheme’, including how to apply for a Spent Conviction Order.
What information is in a police record?
The LEAP database contains data on all your convictions, such as:
- The offence you committed
- The date you committed it
- The dates you went to court
- Which court(s) you went to, eg Magistrate, County, Supreme
- The penalties applied to you
- If you were found guilty or not guilty
- If you got assistance from legal aid, lawyers, or third parties
The Federal police can only inform the person requesting for information on your criminal record if:
- You were found guilty
- The offences haven’t been spent
Need a criminal lawyer?
Contact James Dowsley and Associates today
We have experience helping people who have commited or been accused of a range of crimes. We can also help you to understand the difference between civil and criminal cases.
JDA also acts as legal aid lawyers to support those who are unable to afford legal representation.
Contact us today, we are available 24/7:
- Melbourne CBD (03) 8602 1400
- Frankston (03) 9781 4900
- Moorabbin (03) 9555 4442
- Dandenong (03) 8788 5600
Alternatively, you can request a free consultation online.