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Do pending charges 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.


When applying for a police check, people are mainly worried about the details in the police check certificate. One of the charges people wonder about is if their pending charges will show in the check.

The Australian legislation on disclosure of Police checks may vary slightly across the States and Territories in Australia.

With pending charges, it is not always clear;

  • The date for the sentencing,
  • How severe the matter is, or the duration it will stay in Court.

This may affect whether a pending charge will appear in a police check or not.

However, if you have a pending charge, the Court may decide to record your criminal records depending on how severe the matter is. Also, when employers or any other legal authority request for a nationally coordinated criminal history check, they are equally interested in the ongoing changes in the individual's criminal records.

Does a Pending Charge show up on a police check?

If police agencies deem your pending charge worthy of being placed as a DCO on a police check, it will show up on your Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check. Pending charges in a Court for a criminal offence are generally disclosed, whereas pending charges for a civil matter are unlikely to be disclosed.

The police check is a nationwide means of assessment for most employers and agencies in Australia. It shows the Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCOs) for conviction records in a person’s criminal history.

The criminal history check certificate also contains details of the court conviction, orders, sentences and penalties any court issues you.

Is a pending Charge the same as a dismissed Charge?

The Court can issue several forms of sentencing for a person they find guilty of the offence. The Magistrate may give a sentence dismissal if they deem that imprisonment penalties will be harsh for the crime or for other reasons the court finds appropriate.

If a Magistrate grants a person a sentence dismissal, the offence will not show in their police check records.

Having your sentence dismissed is different from having a pending matter in Court. The sentence dismissal is usually given at the final hearing, and it must satisfy several conditions of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act of the relevant jurisdiction.

Furthermore, if there are unnecessary and long delays in a pending matter due to;

  • The prosecution team, or
  • Both parties (defendant and prosecution),

The Court may dismiss the matter.

Does a Pending Charge show up on other Background Checks?

There are numerous kinds of background checks in Australia to assess a person’s integrity.

Organisations that provide services in sensitive sectors like;

  • Child care,
  • Aged and vulnerable care,
  • Financial institutions,
  • Physical or internet Security,
  • And other sensitive regions in the economy,

Must employ a broad but legal means of assessing their candidates.

Numerous checks provide more background information of a person other than the police check. Some of them include;

A Working with Vulnerable People check or Working with Children Check, for example, will;

How long does a Pending Charge last?

Pending charges don’t have a specific duration. Usually, a matter is pending due to any of these reasons;

  • ✔ The matter is under investigation by the Court,
  • ✔ The defendant is yet to appear before the Court, and a summons is issued,
  • ✔ The defendant requests an adjournment to prepare for the matter,
  • ✔ The parties make a reasonable excuse for the case to be adjourned.

The pending charge will last up until a period that the Court can satisfactorily make a ruling on the case.

How does a Pending charge appear on a criminal record?

A pending charge does not take the place of a conviction on a criminal record. It will appear in its status – as a pending charge.

A conviction record is very different from a pending matter before the Court. And a court will never record a pending case as a conviction.

Can a pending charge record be expunged from my police check?

Yes, a pending charge will be removed from your criminal record once the Court gives a verdict. If the Court finds you guilty, the pending charge record will be changed to a conviction record. However, if the Court issues any other sentencing apart from a finding of guilt, it will not appear on your police check.

What other offences appear on a police check?

The police check reveals a lot of criminal information about the individual (if they have any). If a person doesn’t have a Disclosable Court Outcome in their criminal record, the criminal history check will return with an NDCO.

However, asides from the pending charges, some other records that a nationally coordinated criminal history check discloses are;

Is a Pending Charge good for your criminal record?

With a pending charge on your criminal record, there is always the possibility of getting a conviction. Also, employers are concerned of dealing with anyone having a pending charge, especially for a big scandal or offence where the criminal record may impact the inherent requirements of the job.


  • It is not the same as a conviction record, however;

Although some people may argue that it does less damage than a conviction record, it rarely makes a difference to the employer.

The employer may also consider that it is only a matter of time before you will get a conviction record with a pending charge.


  • Reveals the offences you are in Court for

A pending charge will also reveal the offences the Prosecutor charges you for. Having an ongoing charge of a sexual-related violation can dent your chances at employment. Organisations try to distance themselves from all kinds of scandals and negative PR that may come with such trials.


  • Pending Charge does not provide any guarantee

With a pending charge, there is no guarantee that you will be acquitted of the offence. It also suggests to your employer or anyone who requires the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check that;

  • ✔ You may get in trouble with the law in the future,

All these can also go either way since employers must use a police check under the acceptable standards of the legislation when assessing Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks.

What is a police check useful for?

Recruiters in Australia generally include one form of vetting a candidate. This process helps to reduce the instance of issuing roles to people who, albeit being academically qualified, are unsuitable under the law.

In some sensitive sectors (E.g. aged care), the legislation mandates that employers exhaust all legally possible means to assess the individual.

The various purpose for a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check, and where a pending charge may be an issue is;


  • ✔ Paid employments

If your police check results indicate that you have an outstanding charge, court order, or other condition, the employer may ask you to re-apply when the Charge is settled.


  • ✔ Licenses

Obtaining some materials for your needs may need a license (e.g. gun license). If you have a pending charge in a serious matter, the licensing agency may put off issuing you a gun license.

The agency must also protect the people of the community where you reside. This they will do by taking measures that they do not issue a gun license to a possible offender.


  • ✔ Accreditation

Some roles require you to get tested and assessed by a body of professionals. For example, the Driver accreditation program requires you to present a police check report as part of the requirements. A pending charge in a driving-related offence (drink driving, DUI, Speeding, Traffic Infractions, and co) may hinder your chances for accreditation.

What should I do if my Charge is pending?

A pending charge can set you back in a lot of ways. The only good thing is that it is a passing phase (not a permanent conviction). In every way you can;

  • ✔ Hasten your parts for the proceedings,
  • ✔ Attend all your court hearings and other Court summons,
  • ✔ Provide all necessary documents the Court requests,
  • ✔ Urge the Magistrate to order the Prosecutor against wasting time,
  • ✔ Opt for a summary hearing instead of an indictment if possible.

How can I obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

Individuals

If you are an individual, you can obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check certificate online via Australian National Character Check’s 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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ANCC® enables individuals and approved legal entities to apply for a nationally coordinated criminal history check, which is commonly referred to as a national police check. The nationally coordinated criminal history check is valid all over Australia and can be used when applying for Employment, Probity, Licencing, or Commonwealth check purposes. Get discount police checks online. We beat prices!

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