Will I get a Criminal Record

Article 07 December 2017

Will I get a criminal record?

There are so many types of criminal offences in NSW that it is unlikely any adult has NOT committed a 'crime' of some sort during their lifetime!  From speeding, to parking illegally or dropping litter, there are numerous areas of everyday life in which people run the risk of breaking a law, but not many of those are classified as criminal offences that can result in a criminal record.

What is a criminal record?

Generally speaking, if you are found guilty by a Court of breaking the law and committing an offence, or you plead guilty to committing an offence, you may have a criminal conviction placed on your record.  

A criminal record is simply a formal record of any offences a person has committed.  It is kept and maintained by the police.  The police do not usually release your criminal record without your consent, but there are exceptions, including requests from other police forces and courts. You might also need a copy of your criminal record to apply for a job, work as a volunteer, work with children, apply for insurance or get an overseas visa.

Offences will generally be on your record for 10 years following the date of your conviction.   After that time, most offences will become "spent" convictions and it will no longer appear on your record.  Serious offences such as murder, is an exception and will never be recorded as spent, as well as convictions for which you receive more than six months imprisonment and in circumstances where it may be required for any future sentencing.

Traffic offences

In NSW, traffic and criminal offences are usually dealt with separately.  However, some of the more serious traffic offences can also carry criminal penalties.  For instance, being caught drink driving (or DUI), driving while you are disqualified or suspended, reckless driving and negligent driving can all result in a court appearance and, if you are found guilty, carry criminal penalties.

The police have discretion with a number of traffic offences, and can choose to either refer a matter to court, or in some cases, they can choose to give you a ticket or send an 'infringement notice' through the mail.

If you have been charged with an offence, it is always in your best interest to speak with an experienced  criminal lawyer for advice on how best to deal with the charge and what the implications may be moving forward.  Call CDQ on ph: 02 8566 2400 for more information.