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Criminal records


Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton

In this section you will find information about:

  • What is involved in obtaining a criminal record check (including PDF application forms),
  • Obligations to disclose information if you have criminal record,
  • What effect a criminal record may have on employment,
  • What effect a criminal record may have on working with children in particular,
  • What effect a criminal record may have on travel,
  • Spent convictions (when there is no longer an obligation for you to disclose your criminal record for the offence),

Please select a section or read below

Avoiding a criminal record – S10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act

Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal or traffic offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction you will have a criminal record. In traffic matters this may also include a loss of license. However, if the court has decided not to convict you, there is no penalty, no loss of licence, and no criminal record. In all criminal and traffic law cases a court has the discretion not to convict you, but deal with you under the terms of section 10.

There are three types of section 10 dismissals of conviction:

Full dismissal: Section 10(1)(a)

No conditions attached to the dismissal – the matter is over as soon as you walk out of the court room

Conditional dismissal with good behaviour bond: Section 10(1)(b)

Although the charge may be dismissed, the court can put you on a good behaviour bond for up to two years. The bond can have any conditions the court wants you to abide by. At a minimum, these include:

  • That you do not commit any further offences
  • That you advise the court of any change of address and
  • That you appear before the court if called upon to do so

If you breach any conditions of the bond, the court can ask you to appear before it, revoke the bond and impose a different sentence for the offence.

Conditional dismissal with a intervention program (e.g. rehabilitation course): Section 10(1)(c)

The dismissal is conditional on you entering an intervention program of some kind (such as the Traffic Offenders program or other rehabilitation), completing that program successfully and complying with any action plan resulting from that program.

Applying for a section 10

Courts do not give out section 10s easily. Normally a court will need a lot of convincing before granting you a section 10. The court must consider the following issues:

  • Your age, character, record, health and mental condition.
  • The trivial nature of the offence.
  • Any extenuating circumstances
  • Anything else the court think is relevant.

Dictionary of terms

"Section 10" Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 – This allows a court to make an order to dismiss the charge (i.e. to not record a criminal conviction), despite making a finding of guilt. It may be dependent on certain conditions imposed by the court.

Criminal record: A written history detailing a person's past criminal convictions.

Conviction: In NSW, it involves the finding of guilt and the imposition of a penalty. It includes orders under section 10A but does not include a matter dealt with under section 10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.

where to next?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

Leading Criminal Law NSW 2017 ISO 9001 Legal Best Practice Accredited Specialists Criminal Law Sydney Business Awards Winner 2011