- How an exempt agency can use or disclose a spent conviction
- How law enforcement agencies can use or disclose a spent conviction
- Use and disclosure of a spent conviction by courts and tribunals
- More information
On this page
If your conviction is spent it will be protected from disclosure and generally will not appear on your police record check. You also do not have to tell anyone about your spent conviction, except in a small number of circumstances.
In some circumstances however, courts, police and certain specific agencies have an exemption to collect, use and disclose spent conviction information for a particular purpose.
- where you request information about your own criminal history
- broad exemption for law enforcement agencies such as Victoria Police and Corrections
- broad exemptions for courts and tribunals
- Working with Children Checks
- certain types of licenses and registration
- certain occupational accreditations and regulations, such as for health professionals, teachers and lawyers
- child protection
- immigration decision making.
Driver history reports issued by VicRoads will also continue to show driving convictions which are spent.
How an exempt agency can use or disclose a spent conviction
If an exempt agency receives your spent conviction information, there are still laws about how they use and disclose that information.
The agency can use the information for the specific purpose in the exemption, but generally, they can only disclose your spent conviction to other agencies in the following ways:
- to a court or tribunal as part of a legal case
- because it was ordered by a court or tribunal
- if required for investigation or enforcement of a law
- to the Chief Commissioner of Police (or their equivalent) in another state or territory
- to a lawyer in order to get legal advice
- if you give your consent in writing, or
- where the agency has the authority under another law.
Courts, tribunals and law enforcement agencies like Victoria Police and Corrections, however, have broader powers. VicRoads will also continue to release spent convictions on a driver history report, which may be given to an employer, prospective employer or a vehicle insurer with your written consent.
An employer or agency that has an exemption to receive spent conviction information, must:
- tell you about the information they received, and
- give you the opportunity to respond to the information.
If an exempt agency treats you unfairly or less favourably because of your spent conviction, it may not amount to unlawful discrimination if they are using your spent conviction in the way the exemption specifies.
If the agency does not have your written permission or some other lawful authority, then it may be committing an offence by disclosing your spent conviction.
How law enforcement agencies can use or disclose a spent conviction
Law enforcement agencies have a broad exemption to collect, use and disclose spent conviction information so they can perform their functions. Law enforcement agencies can:
- receive spent conviction information from police or another law enforcement agency
- disclose spent conviction information to each other
- disclose spent conviction information to courts and tribunals
- use spent conviction information to investigate and impose penalties or perform other law enforcement functions.
In addition, they can receive all your criminal history information, including pending charges and ongoing police investigations if they need to.
Law enforcement agencies can also disclose your spent conviction information to you if you request it.
Law enforcement agencies
The list of law enforcement agencies includes:
- Victoria Police and police forces in other states, territories
- The Australian Federal Police
- The Sheriff
- Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission
- Agencies with Corrections functions, such as the Commissioner of Corrections, Adult and Youth Parole Boards
- Director of Fines Victoria
- Government departments that play a role in regulating parts of the justice system, specifically the Secretary to Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Secretary to the Department of Transport (which operates VicRoads)
- Australian Crime Commission
- Chief Examiner and Examiners appointed under the Major Crime (Investigative Powers) Act 2004
- Victorian Inspectorate
- Post Sentence Authority
- VicRoads – VicRoads also has separate broad exemptions to release records with spent convictions information in certain circumstances under the Road Safety Act 1986.
Other agencies with law enforcement functions will also meet this definition. This means agencies that:
- prevent, detect, investigate, prosecute or punish criminal offences or breaches of laws that impose a penalty
- manage property that has been seized under laws relating to the proceeds of crime, or
- execute or implement an order or decision made by a court or tribunal.
If you have a conviction for a driving-related offence, even if it is spent this does not affect any demerit points, sanctions or relicensing conditions that VicRoads might apply to your driver’s licence because of the conviction.
Even if your driving conviction is spent, it may still appear on a driver history report.
Use and disclosure of a spent conviction by courts and tribunals
There is no change to the way courts and tribunals collect, use or disclose your criminal history information, including spent conviction information.
Courts and tribunals have a broad exemption. Similar to law enforcement agencies, a court or tribunal can:
- receive spent conviction information from police, or another law enforcement agency
- disclose spent conviction information to another Court or Tribunal
- disclose spent conviction information to a law enforcement agency
- use spent conviction information to investigate and impose penalties or perform other law enforcement functions
- collect or use spent conviction information for legal proceedings and for publishing their decisions
- disclose spent conviction information as part of the disclosure of a criminal record for legal proceedings and for publishing their decisions.
If your conviction is spent this does not prevent a police prosecutor from telling the magistrate about the conviction. The court can still use your prior convictions, including a spent conviction, when deciding what penalty to give you.
If a journalist applies to the Supreme Court to get copies of orders made by the court for your criminal offences, the court can still release the orders even if they relate to a spent conviction. However, if the journalist wants to publish information about your spent conviction in the newspaper, they may be committing an offence and have to pay a penalty if they knew or ought to know the conviction was spent.
The information is a general guide only and you should seek legal advice about how the law applies to your circumstances. You can contact a lawyer through Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service , a community legal centre or a private law firm for more information about making an application.
A range of more detailed factsheets for community members are available: