Criminal Lawyers NSW

Will I have a criminal record?

Often individuals who have been charged with a criminal or traffic offences will ask “does this mean that I will have a criminal record?”.

A criminal record or criminal history is a list of all offences you have been to court for, including all offences where:

  1. you were found guilty;
  2. you were found guilty but not convicted (a section 10 dismissal);
  3. you were found not guilty; or
  4. the charges were dismissed.

You can obtain a copy of your criminal history from NSW police by accessing the following link:
http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/about_us/structure/specialist_operations/forensic_services/criminal_records_section

An individual’s criminal history is maintained by NSW Police. While your criminal record will list all matters permanently, most convictions are capable of becoming ‘spent’ after 10 crime free years for adult offenders and 3 crime free years for child offenders.

The crime-free period is any period during which:

(a) a person has not been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment, and
(b) a person has not been in prison because of a conviction for any offence and has not been unlawfully at large.

An offence will also become spent immediately if the Court dismisses the matter without recording a conviction or at the end of any bond if a person is released on a bond without a conviction (for example a section 10 dismissal).

Spent convictions are permitted under the Criminal Records Act 1991. Not all convictions are capable of becoming spent. Convictions that will remain on an individual’s criminal record include

  1. convictions where a prison sentence of more than six months was imposed;
  2. sexual offences; and
  3. convictions against companies and other corporate bodies.

When a conviction is spent it will no longer be disclosed in ‘ordinary’ criminal history checks. However, just because a conviction is no longer part of your criminal record, it doesn’t mean all records of it will disappear completely. The conviction will still be recorded on your criminal history maintained by NSW Police and may continue to be disclosed in certain circumstances. These exceptions include:

  1. If you apply for certain jobs such as a Judge, magistrate, justice of the peace, police officer, member of staff of Corrective Services NSW, teacher or teacher’s aide, a casino employee, or child care worker.
  2. If you apply to be admitted as a lawyer in NSW.
  3. If you apply for certain jobs with the Police Integrity Commission, NSW Crime Commission Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), or as a Crown Prosecutor.
  4. If you apply for a position in firefighting or fire prevention and you have been convicted of an arson or attempted arson offence.
  5. If you apply for a security licence.
  6. If you apply for a permit to possess or use a prohibited weapon.
  7. If you are under 18 years and you apply for a firearms license or permit.
  8. If you are sentenced for another offence.

If you have been asked to disclose your criminal record and you are not sure what you need to disclose you should obtain legal advice.


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