When an individual goes to court and is found guilty of an offence the Magistrate or Judge hearing the matter can record a criminal conviction against that individual's name. The conviction will be recorded on the individual's criminal record for life.

A common question we hear as criminal lawyers is who will know what is on my criminal record. The most common way criminal records can be accessed is through a National Police Check which is required for certain types of employment such as work in the government sector.

It is important to understand that not everything on an individual's criminal record will be disclosed. The Criminal Records Act 1991 (the Act) governs what does and what does not show up on a criminal history check.

A criminal history check such as a National Police Check will show the following:

  1. 'Unspent' convictions
  2. Continuing good behaviour bonds
  3. Incomplete criminal charges and court proceedings.

All convictions except for those outlined by the Act are capable of becoming 'spent' after an individual has been offence free for 10 consecutive years. Once a conviction is considered 'spent' there is no requirement for it to be disclosed and it will not be shown on an individual's criminal history.

If you have any questions relating to your criminal record or you been requested to provide your criminal history, we strongly recommend you contact our criminal law to team to discuss what impact this will have on you.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.