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  • Will interstate convictions appear on my police check?

    People often get confused about the offences or "specifications” for offences that get disclosed on their national police checks. Some even wonder if the police authorities "handpick" the convictions it discloses on a police check certificate. We can assure you that this is certainly not how it works.

    A nationally coordinated criminal history check or ncchc police check in Australia is a record of a person's pending charges, sentences, orders by courts, and findings of guilt by a law court. Therefore all offences you have committed in Australia and within the commonwealth jurisdiction will appear in your ncchc or police check certificate.

    Are interstate convictions disclosed?

    YES, all interstate convictions within the commonwealth/Australian legal jurisdiction will appear on your police character check certificate. However, all interstate offences will appear on your check following the State's/Territory's legislation on police checking and the Spent Convictions Scheme

    The Police Check is a nationwide checking and legal document. In other cases, they may refer to as a

    No matter the name it is given in your local territory or State, it generally all means the same when used in the context for employment roles, volunteering roles of licensing and accreditation schemes. The document remains as valid as it is anywhere within Australia.

    What is an interstate conviction?

    If you have a conviction in Tasmania and relocate to Queensland, you will likely find that conviction in your Police Check obtained in Queensland. However, depending on individual state laws, some offences may be expunged in cases like;

    • The offence is considered “less serious”
    • Irrelevant to the purpose of the Check
    • The offence qualifies for the Spent Convictions scheme
    • The individual has satisfied some conditions required by the court (on special court orders)

    Offences that registers as an interstate conviction

    There are no special rules that qualify an offence as "interstate". However, the subtle difference in State legislation or their Spent convictions scheme may remove some offences from a person's Police Check (who has lived/lives in multiple states).

    All "serious" offences, however, are disclosed in the person's background check. The State cannot "compromise" on such offences. These offences are either potentially injurious or an assessment for an individual in certain roles/discipline.

    Some of these Disclosable Court Outcomes / information shown on police checks are;

    • Convictions/Charges against corporate organisations
    • Sexually related offences
    • Traffic charges for which an individual is convicted in a court
    • All Sentences and Convictions
    • Pending court charges and offences
    • Other offences not under the Spent convictions scheme

    What are Spent Convictions?

    Some offences are usually expunged from an individual’s criminal background check by;

    • conditions are satisfied
    • A specific number of years elapsed
    • Court orders/State legislation

    Irrespective of the reason, these offences will never show up in the individual’s background check certificate. Some of the processes for an offence to qualify as a spent charge include;

    • Convictions after ten (10) consecutive years have elapsed for offences committed by an adult (not convicted in a juvenile court)
    • Convictions after Five (5) consecutive years (3 years in NSW) elapses for offences convicted in a juvenile court (committed by a child)

    Following that;

    • The individual is not convicted of any punishable offence during this waiting period. Else the period restarts
    • If a jail term is imposed, the crime-free period begins after the jail term
    • Convictions stipulated by the court to be considered as Spent if the individual meet some criteria

    Do all offences qualify for the Spent Convictions scheme?

    No matter the process; the time elapsed, or the State in Australia, some offences can never be "spent". These offences are usually considered as "Serious" offences and of potential threat to people/organisations.

    Some of them are;

    • Sexually related convictions
    • Convictions against corporate organisations and institutions
    • Convictions stated by the regulations/Court sentencing
    • Convictions for which a prison sentence of six or more months is imposed

    What will not show up in an interstate Police Check?

    In addition to all offences classified as "Spent", some offences do not make it to a person's police background check certificate. Some various reasons and classifications make these offences "less serious" or obsolete in a legal court.

    Some of these are;

    • Findings of non-guilt.
    • Convictions outside the country.v
    • Diversion programs.
    • Spent Convictions
    • Punitive measures by third party institutions or other professional bodies/unions.
    • Offences outside the jurisdiction of Australian police agencies/courts.

    Where is a NCCHC background check in Australia valid?

    Some people may get confused with a ncchc background check when they don’t find the “interstate” or “national” tag to it. However, you should know that a check is issued by comparing the individual’s criminal records with all criminal/police databases in all State/Territory jurisdictions.

    A check issued by ANCC is valid in the following states and territories:

    Who needs an interstate criminal record check?

    A valid check will remain so in Australia irrespective of the State you obtained it from.

    If you are hoping to get a volunteer role in another state, you can apply for the check in your current state of residence or the future State.

    Other roles or job requirements that need a criminal background check are;

    • Roles that involve the care of children
    • Roles where the individuals will work in proximity/direct service to the “vulnerable” populations.
    • Teachers/professors
    • Rural Fireman Service
    • Financial roles
    • Solicitors, welfare reps, and many others
    • When Volunteering in some organisations (volunteer criminal checks)

    How long is a background check valid for?

    Since criminal background checks are not invalidated by a Change of State/residence within Australia, you may wonder what it does.

    Funnily, a check never actually officially expires. Yes - It is a point-in-time check that remains valid from the point of issue till the decision maker or requesting party requests an updated check.

    However, most companies usually refuse a background check result older than 3 months.

    Why are some offences/convictions interstate?

    Some people think it unfair for a past conviction to haunt a candidate in different states. However, a background check is not only a record but also a document of assessment.

    A criminal record check helps an employer to assess the applicant’s suitability (sometimes legally e.g. criminal record checks used in aged care) for the role. It will be just as heinous to employ a recent child offender as a nanny or private teacher.

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