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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:
Your driving record will state:
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:
It does not include:
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.
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:
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.
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.
All convictions are capable of becoming spent, except:
If a conviction is spent you may not have to disclose it to anyone. There are some exceptions to this, for example:
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:
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: