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  • Will traffic offenses show up on my police check?

    When you apply for a Police Check in Australia, your result can come out in any of the two ways;

    Not all offenses are classified as a DCO following the Commonwealth/State Legislation. Where no disclosable outcome is found, the Police Check comes out with a No disclosable Court Outcome record. Some of the offences that may vary between DCO and NDCO are Traffic offenses.

    What are Traffic offenses?

    Traffic offences subsume a whole set of convictions, offences, infringements, irregular driving/road usage behaviours, cautions and punishments related to driving and road usage as stipulated by the Australian legislation on traffic and driving.

    However, most people erroneously exclude traffic offences as a "non-criminal offence". All traffic offences remain a criminal offence, with the only difference being that;

      ✔ Traffic offences are basically found in a traffic history,

      ✔ Others, in the broader police criminal history.

    Will my Traffic offences appear on my Police Check?

    There are two types of records for Traffic offences that are recorded by most Australian police jurisdictions (exceptions may apply)-

    1. Records of all the demerit points you have incurred in the past while driving
    2. Records of all offences leading to licensing loss

    The records of all the demerit points you incur in your driving (traffic) history are not displayed in your criminal record but in your traffic history. It is protected and regulated by the Road Safety Act and Infringements Act. It prevents them from being disclosed in a Police Check.

    However, all records of offences leading to license loss are usually disclosed in a Police Check if you lose the court appeal. If you are a professional/career driver it will count against you in your criminal records check certificate / Police Check.

    Australian police traffic records

    In the state of Victoria (VIC), when the Australian Police authority initiates a court case, it is known as a LEAP record. If you lose the appeal, the record will be displayed in your Victoria criminal history check certificate. When dealing with motor traffic cases, the Police hardly relies on LEAP records but will often use your traffic history from the local transport authority database. The process is very similar in the other Australian States and Territories.

    Applicants should know that a traffic history will include all traffic outcomes. Including; license loss offence and any other legal convictions initiated by other road transport agencies.

    What is a Police Check?

    Most organisations/agencies/employers usually request a Police Check result before employing an individual. In most cases, it is even mandatory by the Australian government. The Police Check helps the requesting party to assess the suitability of the holder/applicant for the role.

    Issued by the Australian Police, a Police Check is a record of all the criminal and Police records of an individual. It includes pending charges, convictions, finding of guilt and other offences not classified as "Spent charges".

    In a nutshell, if you get a conviction in a court (juvenile or adult) of any criminal offence, it will appear in your Police Check in Australia (except for spent charges).

    Do all traffic offences incur a conviction?

    Not all traffic offences lead to a conviction, though they remain criminal offences. Traffic offences that usually lead to having convictions are those that impose a License loss.

    Examples of traffic offences that lead to loss of license are;

    • Drunk driving
    • Drugged driving
    • Reckless driving
    • Exceeding the speed limit by over 25km/h
    • Evading the Police (Police chase)
    • Hit and run (manslaughter charges through driving)

    Where they charge any of these offences against you, and you lose your appeal (and provide witnesses) or fail to appeal, the court will convict you. The conviction will also lead to your license cancellation for a minimum of 6 months

    Generally, to avoid a conviction, you must appeal within 28 days of being charged with the offence. If the court acquits you of the charge, it will not appear in your Police Check.

    Traffic offences that do not impose a conviction

    Where the notice of offence or infringements is not for drunk driving or any of the above (minor traffic offences), opting for a settlement does not result in a conviction. Although the infringement will be recorded in your Traffic history, it will not show up in your background check and cannot be used against you in any future court proceedings or formal setting.

    However, if you decide to challenge these infringements in court and lose the appeal (found guilty), you will likely get a finding of guilt charged against you, with or without a conviction recorded. It will be recorded on your local transport authority’s traffic history and your police criminal record history, but maybe not on your nationally coordinated criminal history check (ncchc police check).

    Why it is important to avoid a conviction

    Most people are career drivers/traffic workers, and having a traffic conviction on their criminal history check may dampen their chances at employment, Volunteering, getting their Driver accreditation and other hardships. As much as possible, try to avoid getting traffic convictions if you plan to be any of these;

      ✔ Taxi driver/Commercial Passenger Vehicles; where a conviction will lead to a suspension of your driver accreditation

      ✔ Truck drivers; where your employer abhors certain convictions

      ✔ You want to be a rider for hailing services like Uber, Lyft, Oma and co.; they are usually specific about traffic history

      ✔ Your insurer may have terms in the contract that precludes drivers with convictions on their Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check certification for certain offences

      ✔ Immigrant to Australia; DIMA indicates that application for a PR or citizenship can be rejected if you have a conviction or pending charges

      ✔ Emigration; if the country indicates that a conviction for your offence may result in being denied residency

      ✔ Your employer usually checks to see if you have any conviction for drug-related offences like drug driving

      ✔ Lastly, you have confidence using the road when you don’t have any conviction

    However, a conviction on traffic offences should not affect you if you apply for a non-traffic/driving related role.

    Traffic Convictions vs. Finding of guilt

    Generally, it is the court's discretion to record a finding of guilt with conviction or not. However, recent changes in the parliament may mean that having/not having a traffic conviction recorded against your offence may make any difference.

    Therefore you should be as equally worried as having a conviction as much as having a finding of guilt.

    Spent Convictions

    After certain conditions are satisfied, some offences will be expunged from national police checks, and you may not need to disclose them. However, spent convictions are governed by the Commonwealth Spent convictions scheme or the legislation of the State or Territories under jurisdiction.

    How can I request a Police Check?

    Police Checks have become a crucial requirement for various uses in Australia;

    However, it is generally more convernivent to get your background check when you apply via the online portal of accredited agencies like Australian National Character Check (ANCC).

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