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No Conviction Recorded (Vic)

A judge or magistrate can choose not to record a conviction when sentencing an offender in Victoria. The decision will depend on the nature of the offence and penalties imposed. Usually a court will choose not to record a conviction if the offence is a less serious offence or the offender has no criminal history. A conviction is usually recorded for a serious offence or an offence that has aggravating factors. This discretion is contained in the Sentencing Act 1991. After a non-conviction, the offender will still have a criminal record, however.


Section 8 of the Act states that when exercising its discretion whether or not to record a conviction, the court must consider all circumstances of the case. This includes:

  • the nature of the offence; and
  • the character and history of the offender; and
  • the impact of a conviction on the offender’s economic or social wellbeing or employment prospects.

If a court finds a person guilty and opts not to record a conviction, it can still make an order. Orders include a community correction order or payment of a fine.

A finding of guilt without the recording of a conviction has the same effect as if one had been recorded for:

  • appeals against sentence;
  • proceedings for variation or contravention of a sentence;
  • proceedings for a subsequent offence;
  • further proceedings for the same offence.

A finding of guilt without the recording of a conviction cannot be taken to be a conviction for any purpose.

Criminal record

If a sentence is made without a conviction, the offender will still have a criminal record. This is because a person’s criminal record will list any finding of guilt for an offence, whether a conviction is recorded or not. It will also include any charges which are yet to be heard in court.

An offence for which a person is found guilty will remain on that person’s criminal record for 10 years if the person was an adult at sentencing, or 5 years if they were a child.


A conviction for an offence is a significant legal and social penalty for an offender. It can restrict a person’s opportunities in areas such as employment, housing and travel.

Many employers perform a police check when screening potential employees. Those convicted of certain offences are prohibited from working in certain fields, such as security, child care and law. A police check requires consent from the potential employee but refusing a check implies something unfavourable might be found by an employer.

In relation to travel, convictions for certain offences bar a person from entering certain countries.

A non-conviction for an offence has a lesser impact. For instance, in applying for a job or a visa, an offender may not have to disclose an offence if no conviction was recorded.

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

Sally Crosswell

This article was written by Sally Crosswell

Sally Crosswell has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), a Bachelor of Communication and a Master of International and Community Development. She also completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the College of Law. A former journalist, Sally has a keen interest in human rights law.

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