Having a criminal record can have serious consequences for your life, both personally and professionally. Whether you’re applying for a job, seeking a licence, or just trying to rent a property, your criminal history can be a significant barrier to achieving your goals. That’s why we often get asked by clients about criminal history checks in Qld and how they can affect their legal rights and options.
In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of criminal history checks in Qld such as how they can be obtained, what information they can reveal, and when you might be required to disclose your criminal history.
What is a Criminal History Check?
A criminal history check is a process of reviewing an individual’s criminal history, which may include prior convictions, charges, and other legal records. In Qld, there are different types and levels of criminal history checks. Which one that is applied for will be dependant on what it is needed for.
The most common types are:
- a National Police Certificate (NPC) – usually obtained for employment, study or travelling overseas. This is an Australia-wide criminal history check.
- a Queensland Criminal History (copy of own) – usually obtained for court-related purposes.
How is a Criminal History Check in Qld Obtained?
To obtain a criminal history check in Qld, individuals can apply for a National Police Certificate (NPC) through the QPS website. The online application process is usually quick and convenient, with results typically available within a few business days, and sometimes as quick as a few hours if no further investigation is required.
You can also apply for a Queensland Criminal History (copy of own) in person at your local police station. This process is a bit longer, and results are usually mailed out. These can only be made by the individual concerned, with the resulting history only released to the individual or their legal representative with their consent.
In both instances, you will need to provide (or verify, if doing online) your ID (such as a driver’s licence), and pay an application fee.
If you require an NPC for immigration to Australia, you must apply through the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
What Information is Included in a Criminal History check?
A lot of people are unsure as to what a criminal history check in Qld might contain, and worry it might reveal incriminating evidence – even if they’ve never committed a crime. A criminal history check in Qld may include information such as any pending matters you might have that are awaiting trial, charges, court convictions (listing both the sentence and penalty), guilty findings without conviction, and good behaviour bonds and other court orders. It may also include information on outstanding warrants or court orders, as well as any past involvement with the criminal justice system. The Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) defines a conviction as a finding of guilt by a court of competent jurisdiction, or a plea of guilty accepted by a court of competent jurisdiction.
What Information Won’t Be Shown in My Criminal History Check
In Qld, there are laws around not reporting spent convictions in your history check. A spent conviction is a minor offence which occurred historically – usually more than 10 years for adults and five for juveniles. However any sexual offence convictions, prison sentences more than 6 months in length, and any corporate offence convictions will appear.
Your criminal record check also will not reveal the following:
- Any record of charges where you’ve been found innocent or where police withdrew the charges.
- Any traffic infringements and less serious traffic convictions;
- Diversion programs that you have completed;
- Where you have been prosecuted by authorities other than the police, such as transport authorities;
Who Needs a Criminal History Check?
Individuals may be required to undergo a criminal history check for various reasons, including employment (such as working with children), volunteering, travelling overseas, and applying for certain licenses or permits. Some industries, such as healthcare and education, require criminal history checks by their regulatory bodies.
Criminal history checks are an important tool for employers and other organisations to ensure the safety and security of their employees, customers, and clients. They help identify individuals who may pose a risk due to prior criminal behaviour and allow organisations to make informed decisions about hiring or working with those individuals.
Do I Need to Reveal My Criminal History To Future Employers?
In Queensland, there is no legal requirement for job applicants to disclose their criminal history to employers unless the job requires a person to have a criminal history check, such as for certain government or security jobs, or in roles where they work with children. However, some employers may ask job applicants to disclose their criminal history as part of their recruitment process. It is important to note that employers must adhere to anti-discrimination laws and cannot discriminate against job applicants on the basis of their criminal record unless it directly relates to the job requirements.
However, if an employer asks about your criminal history, it is generally recommended to answer truthfully. Failing to do so and then being caught out could mean you will no longer be considered for the job, or lead to termination or legal action if that criminal history is relevant to that job.
However, you may wish to seek legal advice before disclosing any criminal history to ensure that you fully understand your rights and obligations.
Want to Know More About Criminal History Checks in Qld?
As you can see, a criminal history check is an important tool utilised by employers and organisations to screen job applicants and individuals. If you are in need of legal advice regarding a criminal history check in Qld, including whether you are required to undergo one, how to obtain one, or how to respond to questions about your criminal record, Guest Lawyers can help. Our experienced criminal lawyers can guide you through the legal process and provide expert advice tailored to your individual circumstances. We can also assist in representation in a number of criminal matters including sex offences, drug offences, and dangerous driving. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get the legal support you need.