Section 12

In Queensland a court can make an order under section 12 Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (the Act) to not record a conviction. If a person has been found guilty and a sentence has been imposed for an offence, section 12 provides the court with the discretion to not record a conviction.

If a court exercises its discretion to not record a conviction, an offender can lawfully state that they do not have any criminal convictions. However, there are exceptions to a courts discretion. For example, if you have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment, the discretion will not apply and a magistrate or judge must impose the recording of a conviction.

The court is required to take into account all of the circumstances surrounding the individual’s case before making its determination. The following factors are to be considered:

The Nature of The Offence

The discretion to not record a conviction is more commonly exercised for minor offences rather than indictable offences. The court will take into account what kind of offence has been committed and any other relevant circumstances that impact the severity of the offending. For example, aggravated circumstances of the offending.

If the court exercises their discretion to not record a conviction, another form of penalty will be imposed. For example, a fine, community service order or good behaviour bond.

Character and Age

The Act provides for the court to take into consideration an offender’s character and age. It is common practice to produce evidence that attests to your good character. For example, a character reference from an employer, close friend or family member.

Economic, Social Wellbeing and Employment

The Act provides that a court must factor in the detriment the recording of a conviction could have on your economic, social wellbeing or employment. However, the court will require evidence to support the submission. For example, a reference from your employer, evidence of travel restrictions or an employment position’s criteria outlining the requirement to disclose convictions.


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.


Armstrong Legal
Social Rating
Based on 276 reviews
Legal Hotline.
Open 7am - Midnight, 7 Days
Call 1300 038 223