Will-a-Conviction-Be-Recorded-Against-Me

Will a Conviction Be Recorded Against Me?

When a person is convicted of an offence, whether it is a serious or relatively minor offence, the effect on their life can be profound. Even after serving your sentence, paying your fines, and accepting the punishment imposed upon you by the court, you may continue to face the stigma that can be attached to those with a criminal record.

The effects of a criminal conviction

You may be asked to disclose your criminal history in everyday situations including: certain licence applications, job applications, rental agreements and blue card applications.  Often, having a criminal history can affect your eligibility for a job by colouring the opinion of the person reviewing your application. The legal system does allow individuals to keep their criminal history to themselves after a certain period of time has passed.

Spent convictions

‘Spent’ convictions are convictions which no longer have to be disclosed because enough time has lapsed since the conviction. The time that must pass in order for a conviction to be ‘spent’ will depend on the court in which the person was convicted.

Magistrates Court

If you were convicted in the Magistrates Court, you do not have to disclosure your conviction if:

  • the conviction was five or more years ago;
  • you did not serve a term of imprisonment, or your term of imprisonment was for 30 months or less;
  • you have fulfilled all other court orders in relation to the sentence;
  • you have not been convicted of another offence within the five years since your initial conviction; and
  • no exceptions apply.

If all of these requirements are met, your conviction will be considered ‘spent’ and there will no longer be an obligation to disclose.

District or Supreme Court

Similarly, if you were convicted in the District or Supreme Court, you will no longer be required to disclose your conviction if:

  • the conviction was 10 or more years ago;
  • you did not serve a term of imprisonment, or your term of imprisonment was for 30 months or less;
  • you have fulfilled all other court orders in relation to that sentence;
  • you have not been convicted of another offence within the 10 years since your initial conviction; and
  • no exceptions apply.

If all of these requirements are met, your conviction will be considered ‘spent’ and there will no longer be an obligation to disclose.

Exceptions

Even when all other criteria are met, you may still be required to disclose your criminal history if one of the many exceptions apply.

The exceptions listed in the Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders Act) 1986 (Qld) are too numerous to list in this article however, it is important to note that people in certain positions have disclosure obligations that relate to the terms of their employment and their professional responsibilities. People employed within the Department of Education or the criminal justice system such as police and Justices of the Peace need to be especially aware of their obligations in this regard.

If you or someone you love has been convicted of a crime and needs advice as to their disclosure obligations, an experienced lawyer will be able to help you determine if any exceptions exist, so please contact one as soon as possible.

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