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Do licence suspensions show up on a police check?

The information on this webpage is to be read in conjunction with this disclaimer:
Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.


Police checks are one of the most versatile documents of assessments in Australia.

However, all these don't make the nationally coordinated criminal history check the all-knowing or all-revealing records of Australia. The police check will only reveal the details of your criminal history under the Disclosure Acts of the State or Territory in the jurisdiction.

So, Yes, for those who have the question, not all your violations or offences in Australia will appear on a police check. Some of these that do not show up can be simple traffic violations.

What is a license suspension?

The Road and Traffic laws in all States and Territories require a person handling or controlling a vehicle to have a Driver License. It is a criminal offence to drive a vehicle without a license while on Australian roads.

However, the legislation also authorises the Police or designated traffic officers to seize a license if a driver commits a severe traffic infraction or violation. Other conditions for this case are found in the various Road and Traffic laws of the States and Territories.

For severe offences, the authorised officer can seize the License until the Court rules on the matter.

Will a License suspension appear in a police check?

Generally, license suspensions do not show in a police check if it was a;

  • “Temporal” suspension by a Police officer (without a court order), or
  • The matter was settled with infringement payments.

However, driving or traffic offences can show up on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check depending on the purpose of the check and the State or Territory’s information release policies.

Which records will you find a traffic offence?

Traffic offences in Australia may either be settled;

  • By infringements, or
  • Court summons/sentences.

Traffic matters settled on infringements are not "entered" in a police check or criminal record. All issues resolved with infringements notices are recorded in the;

  • State Traffic records, or
  • Police records.

However, all traffic offences that the court issues sentencing for will be recorded in the person's criminal records.

What is an infringement notice?

Minor traffic offences can be settled with infringement notices in a traffic court or immediately. If the Police or traffic officer “flag” or apprehend you for a minor traffic offence, they may issue you infringement notices. These infringement notices can be settled by paying the fines on the traffic tickets or demerit points.

However, the officer can also seize your License for a period if they;

  • Consider you an immediate threat to other road users,
  • Think you will commit a further offence,
  • Until the traffic, the matter is settled in court.

If the Police suspend your Driver License, you will have to make alternative plans about reaching your destination.

Can you contest a License suspension by the Police?

If the Police suspend your License as part of the "immediate" penalty, you may apply for an objection in court. In court, you will have to provide all the evidence relating to the crime and argue against the Police.

After the hearing, the Magistrate will pronounce any of the following actions;

  • Maintain the Police issued license suspension,
  • Amend the penalties for the offence,
  • Grant your objection to the license suspension.

Are the State Traffic records, Police records and Criminal records the same?

There are lots of records for all violations or offences in Australia. These records document all the actions, infractions or punishments relating to individuals in Australia.

The traffic record contains all the traffic infractions, offences and infringement notices on the Traffic database. Crimes that are disclosed in a Traffic record includes;

  • License suspensions,
  • Car impoundments,
  • Running red lights,
  • Speeding offences,
  • Parking Tickets/offences,
  • Drink driving offences,
  • Carrying above the stipulated loads for a vehicle,
  • DUI offences,
  • Disobedience of traffic rules,
  • Traffic offences in emergency zones,
  • And all other traffic records, including those the court convicts you for.

Police records

The Police records are special "violation records" in the Police database. It includes all violations charged by the Police.

It includes all the

The police check/Criminal records

It contains details of all court convictions and findings of guilt. All the Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCOs) in a criminal record are revealed in a police check.

What traffic offences/penalties appear on a police check?

The police check will reveal details, punishments, and sentences a court issues regarding a traffic offence. Traffic offences that are shown in a police check include;

  • Drink driving offences,
  • DUI offences,
  • Drug Driving offences,
  • Speeding offences (Speeding offences can show up on a police check depending on the purpose of the check and the State or Territory’s information release policies),
  • Manslaughter resulting from traffic offences,
  • Other crimes the court issued sentencing.

What happens in a License Suspension?

A license suspension means your driving rights will be withdrawn for a period or until you meet some conditions. If your License is suspended, it will be a crime to operate another vehicle.

You must not drive another vehicle for the period of your license suspension.

There are many reasons why your License can be suspended under the legislation.


Reasons why you may get a license suspension

Your driving rights may be suspended for a period if;

  • State penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) imposes it

If you have unsettled fines or infringement orders on your traffic records, your License will be suspended until you settle such penalties.

  • Reached the limits for demerit points

The demerit points system is one way to punish traffic offenders by increasing their driver's license points.

Every License has a limit to the Demerit points it can accrue. The demerit points increase as a person commits a traffic violation. When the driver reaches such a limit (usually 12 -16), their Driver's License is withdrawn for a period.

It takes at least three years for the demerit points to restart.

  • You are convicted of driving more than 40km/h over the speed limit

Driving at such speeds is the most grievous speeding offence in Australia. If an officer apprehends you driving at such speeds, they will in most circumstances seize your License pending a court decision.

  • Recommendations by the State's Department of Road and Transport

The State body for regulating Road and Traffic use in Australia can suspend a person's License based on specific recommendations.

For example, the body can suspend your License if certain medical conditions affect/impair your ability to drive a car.

Immediate License suspension

Your driver license can be suspended immediately if;

  • You disobey a Police request to provide a breath or blood specimen for a drug/alcohol test,
  • You are charged with driving with a mid to high range drink driving offence,
  • Getting another drink driving offence while there is a pending charge,
  • You are caught driving under the influence of a drug or other intoxicating substance.

What is a license withdrawal?

A License withdrawal is not the same as a License suspension. A license withdrawal means a total forfeiture of your rights to operate a vehicle in Australia. Your License will be withdrawn once your;

  • Visa expires,
  • Other residency rules apply,
  • An agency pronounced you medically unfit to operate a vehicle.

License disqualification

A License disqualification means you are precluded or exempted from owning a license for the period of the disqualification. The license disqualification is different from a suspension.

If your License is disqualified, you will need to reapply for a license after the disqualification period. Meanwhile, you can retrieve your License after a license suspension.

A Court order or verdict only issues a license disqualification.

Driving without a License

It is a severe offence to operate a vehicle without a license (driving unlicensed). It doesn't matter if the License is contested in court or temporarily suspended. Driving without a license can either be settled through infringement notice or in court.

An Australian Court can impose penalties of up to 5 years for driving without a license. If the court convicts you of this offence, it will appear on your Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check.

Can a License Suspension affect me?

Yes, aside from the fact that you will be unable to operate a vehicle for the duration of the suspension, there are many determinants for a license suspension.

License suspensions can affect you in;

  • Paid employments

Employers will require your criminal history check or other traffic records if the role involves driving. You might not get a driving related role if you had multiple license suspensions. For example, a sound driving record may be considered an inherent requirement for a job when assessing criminal records for the purpose of driver licensing and accreditation.

  • Further court proceedings

A previous license suspension can count against you in a further court proceeding. The Police can use your traffic record to prove a person's irresponsibility or penchant for disregarding the law.

  • Lead to license disqualification

The Court can issue the harsher license disqualification if a driver gets too many “license suspensions”.

If a driver keeps re-offending in traffic-related infractions, the court can order a disqualification or withdrawal of their License.

How can I obtain a nationally coordinated criminal history check?

Individuals

If you are an individual then you can obtain a nationally coordinated criminal history check certificate 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 Nationally Coordinated Criminal History 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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The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice.

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