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  • Does drink driving show up on a police check?

    Some people think that all offences appear in your criminal record in Australia; this is far from the truth. You may even pay fines for many violations or get tickets that do not appear in your check.

    Offences that show in your Police Check are those that a court has;

    • Sentenced you for,
    • Found you guilty,
    • Recorded a conviction.

    And this includes a Drink Driving offence, D.U.I. offences, Drug driving, and other traffic offences on police checks.

    Without any of these, the violation or offence will not be included in your criminal record.

    What is a Police Check in Australia?

    The criminal record check is a general document of assessment in Australia containing all of a person's criminal records from the National Criminal Database.

    The criminal record check is a point-in-time check that is valid from the point of issue. Generally, a police check will not expire unless the requesting authority deems it obsolete.

    What is a Drink Driving offence?

    The Court will convict you of a drink driving offence if;

    • You are caught driving a vehicle above the minimum B.A.C. level,
    • While holding special licenses, you were driving a vehicle with a B.A.C. level above 0.0,
    • Refused an alcohol test that would confirm a drink driving offence,
    • Driving Under the Influence,
    • Other offences the accused person commits relating to a drink driving offence.

    Generally, a Drink Driving Offence can be categorized either as;

    What is a D.U.I. offence?

    Driving under the influence is the offence of operating a vehicle while being intoxicated. It does not matter how you got intoxicated or the substance that intoxicated you.

    If the Police or other Traffic officer arrest you, they will charge you to Court for a D.U.I. offence.

    Does a Drink Driving offence show in a Police Check?

    If a court finds you guilty of a Drink driving offence, it will be recorded in your criminal history. The criminal record is a database of all offenders in Australia.

    All offences in your criminal record are disclosed in a Police Check certificate.

    So, in addition to the penalties the Court may impose for a drink driving offence, it will be part of your conviction history.

    Traffic offences are punished by infringement notices/tickets.

    However, not all traffic or drink driving offences are settled in Court. For minor traffic/drink driving offences, the Police officer may issue an infringement notice.

    The offender can settle their infringements on the spot without having a traffic conviction in their criminal history.

    Settling an infringement notice means any or all of;

    Infringement notices or other punishment imposed by the Police or a traffic officer will be recorded in the Police records. The Police records are different from criminal records.

    The Police record is not open for public perusal or use as a criminal record. It is a record of the Police that contains a person's interaction with the Australian laws.

    A Police record is also far extensive than a criminal record and will include penalties like;

    • Infringement notices,
    • Traffic tickets,
    • Court orders,
    • Violence orders,
    • Good Behaviour bonds,
    • Police warnings,
    • Traffic violations,
    • Fines.

    Furthermore, a Police record may be admissible in court as evidence against the person.

    What other offences appear in a Police Check?

    Not only traffic offences are disclosed on a Police Check, but other court convictions in your criminal records will also appear. Some of these records include;

    • Charges for offences in corporate organisations,
    • Sexually related offences,
    • Traffic charges for which the court convicts you,
    • Sentences and Convictions,
    • Pending court charges and offences,
    • Offences not considered under the spent convictions scheme.

    How serious is a Drink Driving offence in Australia?

    Drink driving incidents cause a large percentage of road accidents in Australia. Because of this, all States and Territories in Australia consistently review and improve their road and traffic laws.

    Drink driving offences are severe issues in Australia, especially in cases of;

    • High B.A.C. content, or
    • Aggravated D.U.I. offences.

    Offences of this nature can attract severe punishments like;

    • Prolonged license disqualification,
    • Imprisonment term,
    • Car impoundment.

    Various Degrees of Drink Driving Offences

    The severity of Drink driving offences depends primarily on the offender's B.A.C. at the time of the incident. However, the penalties vary depending on the State or Territory legislation.

    Low range driving offences;

    These are drink driving offences where the driver is caught driving with a B.A.C. level between 0.05 and 0.099.

    Middle range offences

    This range involves those caught driving a vehicle with a B.A.C. level between 0.10 and 0.1499.

    High range offences

    These are the most severe forms of drink driving offences in Australia. A person is guilty of this offence if they are caught driving a vehicle with B.A.C. levels above 0.15.

    For a High range of drink driving offences, the Police can seize the offender's license on the spot. Such a person will have to arrange an alternative means to their destination.

    How long does a Drink Driving offence remain on a Police Check?

    Offences on a Police Check will continue to appear for a long time (for life) as long as they are in the criminal records. Offences are only removed from a criminal record through various legal pardons or schemes like the Spent Convictions Scheme.

    Depending on the severity of the offence, not all offences are eligible for the Spent convictions scheme or other legal pardons.

    Generally, the Spent Convictions Scheme in most Australian States and Territories stipulates that a drink driving offence will get expunged from an individual’s criminal record after 10 years from the date of the offence (if the offender was an adult at the date of the offence).

    What is the Spent Convictions Scheme?

    The Spent convictions scheme applies to almost all offenders across Australia who have demonstrated a tendency for good behaviour. However, this good behaviour must be provable to the Court through their clean conviction records, Police records and other recommendations over the "waiting period".

    If the Court is satisfied that;

    The offender shows/maintains Good Behaviour during the waiting period;

    The Court will remove the "eligible" offence from their conviction records.

    Usually, the waiting period is;

    • Ten years for adults, or those convicted by courts other than a Juvenile court,
    • Five years for Juveniles, or those convicted in a Youth Court.

    Depending on the jurisdiction, it may also be called;

    • Good Behaviour period,
    • Crime free period, or
    • Rehabilitation period.

    If your offence becomes Spent under the scheme, then;

    You no longer have to disclose details of the crime to an employer or any other person. It is called the right of no disclosure. You can also decline any question relating to the details of the spent conviction.

    Your spent convictions cannot assess you.

    Australia has laws and commissions that look into discrimination and unfair work policies. It is a discriminatory act under these laws to assess a person based on a spent conviction.

    An employer can only evaluate a person's spent conviction record if the legislation mandates it for certain sensitive roles (e.g. working with children roles).

    The offence is removed from the Police Check.

    And of course, the best part about a spent conviction is that it will no longer appear on your Police Check. The records are erased from your criminal history check.

    Can your drink driving offences be spent?

    Minor drink driving offences can be spent in all States in Australia if;

    • The offence did not incur more than a 30-month imprisonment term (Cth),
    • The drink driving offence did not contradict any limit per the Spent convictions scheme,
    • The offender did not get another conviction during the waiting period,

    If your drink driving offence satisfies this condition, it will be spent automatically under the scheme. However, in Western Australia, you must apply to have your offence spent.

    Effects of Drink Driving offence on your Police Check

    Having any of the following offences on your records can hinder your career or job prospects in Australia;

    • Driving under Influence (D.U.I.) offence,
    • Drink Driving Offence,
    • Speeding offence,
    • Refusing to take an alcohol test,
    • Other traffic offences convicted in a court.

    It gets worse if you seek roles related to the transport industry or as a driver. It will be hard to convince employers that you are suitable (stable) for that job with a Drink driving record.

    Employers can make a criminal history check a mandatory requirement for Commercial driver related roles in the interests of protecting the health and safety of the community, particularly if the offence relates to the inherent requirement of the role. Therefore, it may be not be possible to get a position as;

    • Truck driver,
    • Commercial Passenger Vehicle (CPV) driver,
    • School bus driver,
    • Driving instructor,
    • Commercial Bus driver,
    • And other roles relevant to driving.

    So, a drink driving offence on your Police Check may be damaging and will limit the jobs you can apply for.

    Police Checks for Driver Accreditation

    Driver licensing and accreditation is a nationwide and essential assessment program for drivers who seek commercial duties. It is the standard commercial driving vetting system in Australia. One of the main requirements for driver licensing and accreditation is a Police Check result.

    Having a Drink Driving and related offence will affect your chances of getting accredited or vetted.

    Furthermore, if your Drink driving offence led to other crimes like;

    • Assault charges,
    • Manslaughter,
    • Murder,
    • Destruction of vehicles,
    • Or other detriments to people,

    The employer or decision maker may interpret it as gross acts of irresponsibility that can easily affect their other activities.

    How can I obtain a criminal history check?


    If you are an individual then you can apply for a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check online via Australian National Character Check’s online police check application form. The results are dispatched via email.

    Business and Enterprise Customers

    Business and Enterprise customers are able to sign up to ANCC’s business portal where they can order, manage, track and view candidates’ criminal history check results on their business portal. Organisations will undergo a process for approval prior to being granted access to ANCC’s business portal.

    ANCC sends an invite to the applicant to complete their criminal record check online and handles the application and informed consent form. Contact ANCC’s business and enterprise partnerships team today to enquire about setting up a business portal for your organisation.

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