Effect of Criminal Conviction
What Records are Kept?
The police department has an Information Bureau which records all court appearances, arrests and convictions for offenders 14 years and over, and for juvenile offenders under 14 years. These include traffic convictions.
Separate records are kept of juvenile offenders by the Department of Communities.
How Long are the Records Kept?
The information on a person’s criminal history remains permanently on record. However, if a charge is dismissed, this charge will not appear on the criminal record. A dismissed charge will appear on the record of convictions provided to a Court when a person appears before it. Fingerprints will be destroyed automatically if there are no other criminal convictions.
Disclosure of Criminal Records
The Commissioner of Police is only permitted to release information of a person’s criminal record on the request of a police officer or to a person or their lawyer in very limited situations, at the discretion of the Police Commissioner, to authorised public bodies (Education Department, Justice Department).
Upon such a request in writing, the Information Bureau normally releases a summary of the criminal record. Employers and volunteer organisations are increasingly requesting a copy of the criminal record of candidates. The organisation usually provides a request form for the candidate in order to request a copy of their record.
Disabilities Resulting from Conviction
In addition to whatever sentence is imposed for an offence, the offender will generally suffer further disabilities as a result of the conviction. The relevance of a conviction may reduce as time passes and the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (Tas) (s16(q)) prohibits discrimination on the grounds of irrelevant criminal convictions. The following are disabilities of certain convictions:
- Voting. Whilst serving a sentence of imprisonment for one year or longer, a person loses their voting rights.
- Offences committed by migrants. An immigrant who has been sentenced to more than 1 year’s imprisonment and who has been in Australia for less than 10 years may be deported.
Employment in the Public Sector
A criminal conviction may affect a person’s ability to obtain or retain employment in the public service.
Many professions require that a person be licensed (e.g. auctioneers, travel agents, builders, motor dealers) or registered (e.g. medical practitioners, nurses, dentists, opticians). The person to be licensed must generally be either ‘of good fame or character’ or ‘a fit and proper person to hold a licence’, depending on the wording of the relevant Act. The appropriate registration board may refuse to register a person who has been convicted of a crime or a misdemeanour. It may revoke the registration of a person who has been convicted of such an offence or who is not ‘of good character’.
Restitution of Property
- make restitution of property;
- pay costs;
- pay an award of damages arising out of the commission of the crime.
Having a criminal conviction may affect a person’s chances of obtaining insurance on property.
Page last updated 02/12/2021