As many of us have received the odd parking or speeding fine over the years, you may be wondering – what would a police check reveal about you?
The National Police Check (NPC) is the standard criminal record check in Australia.
Obtaining an NPC is relatively straight forward. Any NSW resident aged 14 or older can apply to get one if it is required for the following purposes:
NPCs are released in accordance with federal and state legislation, including the Criminal Records Act 1991 (NSW).
An NPC will reveal ‘all disclosable court outcomes’.
A criminal offence will not be revealed on an NPC if the conviction is ‘spent’.
A spent conviction is a criminal conviction that has been removed from an individual’s record as a result of a significant ‘crime-free’ period of time.
Generally, you do not have to disclose spent convictions to a prospective employer.
However, there are some exceptions, such as if you are applying for one of the following positions:
In addition, anyone making an application for clearance under the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act or the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Worker Checks) Act cannot rely on their convictions becoming spent and must disclose them.
The exception also extends to anyone who has been convicted of arson (or attempted arson) and is seeking to apply to be appointed or employed in fire-fighting or fire prevention.
This varies from state to state.
In NSW a conviction will normally become spent after 10 crime-free years or 5 crime-free years for offenders who have been convicted during childhood (10-17).
Section 7 of the Criminal Records Act 1991 outlines that all convictions are capable of becoming spent, except the following:
As you can see, a criminal record can have serious consequences on employment prospects. Therefore, if you have been charged with a criminal offence it is vital to seek advice from an experienced criminal lawyer.