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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:

  • the nature of the offence;
  • the character and past history of the offender; anf
  • 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.

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 states that after 10 years from the time that a person was last found guilty, the finding of guilt will not be released.

For advice or representation in any legal mater, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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