Driving and criminal records
If you have to go to court for an offence, the details are recorded on your criminal history. A criminal history is a record kept by the Police, with details of all offences you have been to court for. If the offence is a driving offence and you are convicted by the court, the conviction is recorded on your driving record. If the offence is a criminal offence and you are convicted by the court, the conviction is recorded on your criminal record.
Most convictions will become 'spent' after a certain period of time. This means the conviction will no longer be part of your criminal record and you may not have to disclose it to anyone, however there are some exceptions.
Your driving record is a list of all traffic offences that you have committed in New South Wales. It is also known as a traffic record.
Your driving record includes:
- records of any fines that you have paid, except parking offences
- any traffic offences that you have heard in court where you were found guilty, including 'section 10 dismissals' (where the court finds you guilty but records no conviction).
Your driving record will state:
- the date of any offences
- the name of the offences
- the amount of the fine or other penalty you received
- the demerit points you were given for the offence
- where the Revenue NSW has cautioned you for an offence but not fined you.
If you go to court for a driving offence and the magistrate finds you guilty, your driving record may influence the sentence you are given.
If you want to get a copy of your driving record, you can request one from Service NSW.
Your criminal record includes a list of all criminal offences where you have pleaded guilty or been found guilty and convicted by a Magistrate. It also includes serious traffic offences such as:
- drink driving
- dangerous or negligent driving where someone is hurt
- driving whilst disqualified.
It does not include:
- dismissed criminal charges
- offences that you were found not guilty of.
When a court finds you guilty, it must make a decision about your penalty or sentence. Before making a decision, the prosecutor will hand up (give to) the magistrate a copy of your criminal record and/or driving records. The magistrate will use these to decide on a suitable penalty.
Check with the prosecutor whether they are handing up your criminal record or your criminal history. They can hand up your criminal record but should not hand up your criminal history (unless the court is making a decision on a bail application). If the magistrate sees your criminal history they may be more likely to give you a more serious penalty. Before the document is handed up (given to) to the magistrate, you should make sure it only includes offences you were found guilty of. If the prosecutor has handed up the wrong document, ask them to change it. Only raise an objection if they insist on handing up the wrong document.
Disputing your criminal record
If you get a copy of your record and you think it is wrong, you can dispute the information recorded. If you are disputing a NSW police check or National Police check through the NSW police, you will need to fill out an application form and send it to NSW police.
To get a copy of this form, see Forms on the NSW Police community portal.
You can send the form to police by:
- posting the form to NSW Police, Information Management Team, Locked Bag 5102 Parramatta, 2150
- emailing the form to CRS@police.nsw.gov.au
There is no fee for applying.
You will need to explain what information you believe is not correct, and you could be asked to provide your fingerprints. This is to compare to any fingerprints in police records related to the offences you dispute. Those fingerprints you provide will be destroyed at the end of the dispute.
For more information, see the Criminal Records Section fact sheet on the NSW police website.
If you are disputing a National Police Certificate issued by the Australian Federal Police, you must complete the Disputed Record form. You should explain why you believe the record is wrong and attach any relevant documents to your application.
For more information and to dispute your National Police Check, see National Police Checks
on the Australian Federal Police website.
A criminal history is a list of all offences you have been to court for, including all offences where:
A criminal history will also list any apprehended violence orders and warrants. The prosecutor will usually hand up (give to) the magistrate a copy of your criminal history if you are applying for bail or a change in bail conditions.
Most convictions become spent after 10 crime free years for adult offenders and 3 crime free years for child offenders. This means the conviction will no longer be part of your record. However, just because a conviction is no longer part of your criminal record, it doesn't mean all records of it disappear completely. The conviction will still be noted on your criminal history and may be disclosed in some circumstances.
What convictions can become spent?
All convictions are capable of becoming spent, except:
convictions where a prison sentence of more than six months was imposed
convictions against companies and other corporate bodies.
Disclosing spent convictions
If a conviction is spent you may not have to disclose it to anyone. There are some exceptions to this, for example:
If you apply for certain jobs such as a judge, magistrate, justice of the peace, police officer, member of staff of Corrective Services NSW, teacher or teacher's aide, a casino employee, or child care worker.
If you apply to be admitted as a lawyer in NSW.
If you apply for certain jobs with the Police Integrity Commission, NSW Crime Commission Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), or as a Crown Prosecutor.
If you apply for a position in firefighting or fire prevention and you have been convicted of an arson or attempted arson offence.
If you apply for a security licence.
If you apply for a permit to possess or use a prohibited weapon.
If you are under 18 years and you apply for a firearms license or permit.
If you are sentenced for another offence.
If you have been asked to disclose your criminal record and you are not sure what you need to disclose you should get
It is an offence for someone to disclose your spent convictions to anyone else. However, the Criminal Records Section of the NSW Police is allowed to disclose information about your spent conviction to:
courts, in some circumstances
law enforcement agencies, and
other State and Federal government agencies.
If you want to get a copy of your criminal record, go to the 'Criminal Records Section' of the
NSW Police Force website.
For some types of historical homosexual offences, you may be eligible to apply to the Secretary of the Department of Justice for your previous conviction to become extinguished.
If a conviction is extinguished, you will not be required to disclose any information about the conviction.
A historical homosexual offence is where a person was convicted of engaging in a homosexual activity. You should get
legal advice to find out if you are eligible to make an application for extinguishing a conviction.
If the convicted person has died, and you want to make an application on their behalf, you can do so if you are:
the convicted person's lawyer, or
a spouse, de facto partner, parent or child of the convicted person, or
a person who was in a close personal relationship with the convicted person immediately before the convicted person's death.