Victoria does not come under the various spent conviction laws which govern federal offences, and offences committed in every other state. These laws allow you not to disclose offences in which you have had a no conviction, or spent conviction, recorded. In Victoria all findings of guilt are disclosed on your criminal record even if you have obtained a no conviction. Therefore an employer will be able to see that you have been found guilty of an offence but that no conviction was recorded. In other states most employers, except some government departments, would not be privy to this information. If you have been charged by the police but the courts found you not guilty, or you did a diversion program then this information is not released on any criminal record search, and is only used by the Police and the courts for future sentencing determinations. The Sentencing Act 1991 governs the ability for a no conviction to be recorded.
Even though having a no conviction recorded in Victoria is not as beneficial as it is in other states, it is still a better outcome than having a conviction recorded. A conviction doesn’t have to be recorded when you receive a good behaviour order, a fine, or a correction order. Any penalty more serious than this must have a conviction recorded. If you are found guilty of an offence, but wanting the courts not to record a conviction then you will need to make suitable submissions to the court. The information that the court will consider include the circumstances of the offence, the nature of the offence, your character, any past criminal history, and the impact of recording a conviction on your economic and social wellbeing and employment prospects.
If an embassy, or an employer, request a criminal record check, and you agree, then normally they will be asking as to whether you have a criminal record, any findings of guilt, any convictions, and any time spent in prison. It is the findings of guilt component that will display any offences in which a no conviction was recorded. In Victoria a criminal record is available for ten years from the time of sentencing if you were over 18 years old at the time of the offence, and five years if the offence was committed while you were under 18. The criminal record will also include outstanding matters that have not yet been heard in court.
In some circumstances a criminal record will contain offences greater than 10 years old. This occurs if you had a term of imprisonment longer than 20 months, if you committed a serious offence of violence, or a sexual offence and the criminal record check is for a job involving children, and if you committed a serious offence but was acquitted due to reason of insanity, or mental impairment. There are certain types of employment which will require a criminal record search that lists any, and all, offences you have committed no matter how long ago they were. These include registration with a child screening unit or Victorian Institute of Teaching, assisted reproductive treatment, registration of a health professional, employment in prisons, employment in a casino, or applying for bus driver licence, a security licence, a taxi licence, or a firearms licence. Depending on who is requiring the criminal record search will depend on what is shown, as there are different release policies that the police have to abide by.