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  • Will convictions show up on a police check?

    The Police Check is a nationwide document that reveals all the details of any conviction you get in Australia. If you have a previous conviction history in Australia, it will show in your Check results unless some special programs in the legislation like the Spent Convictions Scheme erase the records from your criminal records.

    Due to the broad scope of Criminal History Checks, applicants are usually worried about the kind of records that appear on their certificate. The Police Check is only a mere reflection of a person's criminal history records on the Australian Criminal database. So, applicants should expect their Court given records to show unless it qualifies for some special scheme.

    However, not all “violations” will show up in your Check.

    What shows up in a Police Check Australia?

    The Police Checking in Australia matches an applicant's information to the records on the Australian Criminal Database. Therefore, all court convictions and sentences on your criminal records will form part of your Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCOs).

    What are Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCOs)?

    The DCOs are the convictions from your criminal records that show on the Police Check certificate. Not all convictions on your criminal record may be “disclosable” under the jurisdiction laws on criminal records disclosure. Some records may not show in your Criminal History Check if the legislation prohibits such disclosure.

    There are various reasons why a record may be excluded from your DCOs. Depending on the jurisdiction, a conviction will be out of your DCOs if;


    Some of the offences that form your DCOs are;


    • All Criminal convictions, including suspended sentences

    After finding you guilty of an offence, all the convictions the court issues are automatically registered on your criminal records. The suspended sentences will also be in your criminal records until the Good Behaviour period is over.


    • All traffic-related criminal offences

    It is erroneous to think that a traffic offence will not appear on your records. While traffic violations settled by tickets do not enter your criminal records, those traffic matters settled in Court are a part of your Criminal records.


    • All finding of guilt where the Magistrate issues no conviction

    For some minor offences, the Magistrate may decide against issuing a sentence. However, you will still have a criminal record if the Court finds you guilty of the offence. All findings of guilt enter your criminal records in that status "Finding of guilt".


    • Pending charges

    If you have a pending criminal charge against you at the time of your Police Check, it will appear on the certificate. Usually, the Magistrate will decide, depending on how severe the matter is, whether to include such records on the individual's criminal records.


    • Court appearances

    Your Police Check will also include court summons and charges related to criminal offences in your records. Your number of court appearances may form part of your DCOs.


    • Arrest warrants for crimes

    If there is a criminal arrest warrant with your name, it may be on your criminal record check records. Once the Court issues a warrant for your arrest, it will appear on every of your possible background records.


    • Breached Conditions or Orders issued by a Court

    Where the Court issues a Restriction Order against a person, it does not translate to a criminal record. However, the Court can convict the defendant if they breach any orders without a reasonable excuse.

    The same applies to a Conditional Release Order (CRO). A breach of an order may result in a court hearing and a conviction which will show on the applicant's criminal record.


    • All convictions except those that are Spent

    All other convictions that are not “Spent” will form part of your DCOs. It includes; Murder, manslaughter, Finance-related convictions, Drug possession/trafficking, Affray offences, Assault convictions and so on.

    No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO)

    Not every order, verdict or ruling given in a court will enter a criminal record or form part of a Police Check. All convictions or records on your criminal records that do not appear on the Police Checks are NDCOs. An NDCO will also show up on a Check result if an individual has no criminal history at all.

    Some examples of these records are;

    Also, a Police Check can return as NDCO if the applicant does not have any conviction on their record. People popularly refer to it as having a clean criminal record.

    Which convictions/records do not show in a Police Check?

    Besides the NDCO, other convictions do not appear on a criminal history check in Australia. These convictions are usually not under the "Australian legislations" or were issued by non-Australian Courts.

    Convictions that will not show in your Police Check are;


    • Overseas convictions

    Even though a legal court issues a conviction against you abroad, such records are excluded from a Police Criminal Background Check in Australia. Your overseas records will not show up in a regular Police Check. Any party seeking information for your overseas records must employ other means.


    • Infringement Notices/Tickets

    All violations settled by an infringement notice or ticket and fines on the spot (without going through court) do not enter your criminal records. While these violations may be in other background records like the Police/Traffic records, it does not show in a Police Check.


    • Offences not prosecuted in an Australian Court

    Any conviction/charge you receive from other courts/groups outside Australian laws do not show in your Check. It includes convictions given by a religious, political or cultural group that falls outside Australian laws.


    • Spent Convictions

    Offences that are eligible to be “Spent” will not appear on a Police Check. The Court/Scheme automatically removes all offences that meet the conditions under the Spent Conviction Scheme.


    • Diversionary programs

    If the Court issues a diversionary program instead of a conviction for a guilty person, it does not show in a Police Check. Some examples of Diversionary programs are;

    • ✔ Court cautions/warnings,
    • ✔ Suspended sentences without conviction,
    • ✔ Conditional release orders,
    • ✔ Good Behaviour Bonds.

    What is the Spent Conviction Scheme?

    Spent offences allow eligible offences to be removed from a person's criminal records. The individual must satisfy a crime-free period and other conditions before the offences can become spent. Also, not all convictions can be "Spent" under the scheme; it primarily applies to minor offences.

    For an offence to be spent,

    • ✔ The offences must not incur a penalty of n imprisonment term higher than 30 months,
    • ✔ The offender must have completed a crime-free period without getting another conviction,
    • ✔ The conviction must not be for a sexual-related offence.

    What is the Crime-Free period?

    This is a fixed period where the offender must be of good civil behaviours. Depending on the jurisdiction, people may also refer to it as a Good Behaviour Period.

    The Crime Free period for offences is;

    • ✔ Ten years for convictions received as an adult or in an adult court,
    • ✔ Five years for convictions received as a juvenile or in a Youth record.

    How long does my Criminal record last?

    If a court records a conviction in your criminal record, it may remain there for a long time. Also, your criminal record will continue to appear on a criminal history check unless some programs remove such offences from your records.

    However, some eligible convictions will stop appearing on the criminal record check after ten consecutive years elapses (for minor summary convictions). Also, you must not receive another conviction during that period.

    Does a Youth record show in my Adult Police Check?

    Most people wrongly believe that youth records are wiped off when a person reaches 18 years. Your youth records will continue on your adult criminal record until some legal pardons wipe them off your records.

    Generally, Youth records are wiped off from a person's record after five years of Good Behaviour and three years if the offence was committed in NSW. However, if such conviction was given in a higher court (District/Supreme), it may remain on their Criminal records for life.

    Is it possible to have a clean Police Check result?

    If there are no convictions on your criminal records, your Police Check result is clear from any record. Your certificate will indicate that there are “no disclosable court outcomes” (NDCO).

    It is possible to have a clean criminal record even if you are charged with an offence.

    The first step is to employ the services of a lawyer or legal adviser. These professionals will better inform you of the various programs in Australia that may mitigate your sentencing.

    The defendant can also approach the prosecutor's legal team to discuss entering into an "Out of court sentencing" or a sentence dismissal.

    How can I know the offences on my Police Check?

    The only way to know the details on your criminal record is to apply for a criminal background check in Australia. There are three main methods of applying for a Background Check in Australia.

    Approved service providers like ANCC® provide an easy and streamlined method of obtaining a criminal background check. Applicants may also apply through their Local Police office or the local Post office.

    How can I obtain a national criminal history check?

    Individuals

    If you are an individual, you can obtain a national criminal record 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 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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