Avoiding a Criminal Record

Any offence which results in a finding of guilt will result in the offence being listed on the person’s criminal record.

The only penalty which does not include an entry on the criminal record is Diversion.

However, in some circumstances the Court has the power to order that the entry on the criminal record be made “with” or “without” a conviction.

If the penalty is a term of full time imprisonment the Court must enter a conviction.

For most other penalties the Court has the power to determine whether a conviction should be imposed. In determining whether a conviction should be imposed the Court must have regard to:

  1. The nature of the offence;
  2. The character and past history of the offender; and
  3. The impact of the recording of a conviction on the offender’s economic or social well-being or on his or her employment prospects.

Other States in Australia have a scheme which results in “spent convictions” that may not need to be disclosed for the purpose of travel, employment and the like.

Victoria does not have such legislation. However, if you have committed a Federal Offence (i.e. you are being prosecuted pursuant to the Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914) the conviction will become spent 10 years after the conviction. A conviction will never be spent if the penalty was more than 30 months imprisonment.

The Victoria Police have an Information Release Policy which sets out how the information contained in a criminal record is released. Even if the Court orders that the penalty is to be imposed without a conviction, the offence will still appear on the criminal record.

The Information Release Policy, similar to a Commonwealth Offence, states that after 10 years from the time that a person was last found guilty, the finding of guilt will not be released.


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.


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