What does it mean to be found guilty without conviction?
In the courts, following a finding that a person is guilty of a criminal A criminal act prohibited by state or commonwealth criminal law. An offence is either a summary offence (minor) or an indictable offence (serious)., lawyers often argue that their client should be spared a criminal record by ‘avoiding a conviction’. Lawyers A document that sets out what a person wants to happen to their money and other property after they die. submit that the An independent body that hears legal claims brought by parties and decides between them. Serious cases are heard by a judge and jury, or just a judge. Less-serious cases are heard by a magistrate. should not record a conviction as this may hamper their client’s job prospects. Magistrates and judges will sometimes A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation. on these submissions as a measure of lenience to the A person who has committed a crime. if this is seen to be in the public interest. Victorian sentencing law requires the courts to take these issues into account.
Victorian law permits courts to find a person guilty of an offence but not to record a conviction. This can be done when adjourning a case on condition of good behaviour or when giving a fine or community correction order. A conviction must be recorded when a more severe penalty is imposed, such as a sentence of imprisonment.
When the court is considering whether or not to record a conviction, the law states that all the circumstances of the case must be considered. These circumstances include the nature of the offence, the character and past history of the offender, and the impact of recording a conviction on the offender’s economic or social wellbeing or employment prospects (s 8 Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) (‘Sentencing Act’)).
This statement of legal principle may give the impression that not recording a conviction will protect the offender from the negative effect of a conviction on their social wellbeing or employment prospects. Unfortunately, this is not always so.
Under the Victoria Police policy relating to the A document signed by parties ending a court action. The party who began the action agrees to drop it, often in exchange for a payment by the other party. Also called terms of settlement. of criminal records, employers (and others you authorise to access or receive your police record) will be informed of findings of guilt made against you, regardless of whether a conviction is recorded or not. Police may also list an offence on your record if you have been charged and the case is awaiting The time and place at which a court or tribunal hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision., or even if you are only a suspect under investigation.
How will having a criminal record affect me?
Having a criminal record may affect you primarily in two ways:
- a criminal record can be accessed by the police when they are investigating future criminal activity and relied on in subsequent criminal proceedings against you;
- your criminal record may appear on a police check, which generally needs to be requested by you or with your To agree to something being done, to approve an action or arrangement. See also informed consent.. Having a criminal record could also have negative consequences if you are asked questions about your record when applying for a job, insurance, Done by your own free will. See also community treatment order (CTO). work or licences of various kinds. This chapter focuses on this area.