In Victoria, if you choose to plead guilty or if you are found guilty of a criminal offence you may get a conviction on your record even if you are not facing jail time or paying a fine.
Sentencing without a conviction
Occasionally, depending on the nature of the offence committed and the other penalties imposed, a sentencing judge may sentence you without recording a conviction. However, even if you do not receive a conviction for the offence, a judge can sentence you with a variety of orders to facilitate your rehabilitation. To ensure you get the best outcome for your offence it is wise to engage a criminal lawyer in Melbourne, Geelong or regional Victoria.
Lawyers will make submissions in court on your behalf to try and stop a conviction being recorded. An experienced criminal lawyer from Gallant Law will provide compelling information about you and your circumstances to the sentencing judge so they consider the nature of the offence committed, your history and character and what impact the conviction could have on your employment and personal well-being. If the charges against you are dismissed, a conviction will not be recorded.
Impacts of a conviction
Often, first-time offenders may not understand the full ramifications of how a conviction may affect their life until it is too late. Whether it is restricting your ability to find employment or limiting your travel options, having a criminal record affects you in many ways.
Employment restrictions with a criminal record
If you’ve been found guilty of an offence, you may find it more difficult to obtain employment as many employers perform a police check on potential employees. Despite the fact your criminal history can usually only be disclosed with your consent; refusing to consent to a check implies you have something to hide. While this may not be true, the implication could cost you the potential job opportunity therefore it is imperative to engage a trusted criminal lawyer from Gallant Law when charged with an offence.
If you’re curious about what potential employers see on a police check, you can contact Victoria Police for a copy of your criminal record.
Convictions and travelling restrictions
A conviction may also affect travel and visa applications. Australians wishing to travel to certain countries may be denied entry due to their criminal record. Each country has different laws regarding travellers with criminal convictions so it is important that you seek advice before you plan or book a holiday.
Spent convictions in Victoria
If you commit an offence in Melbourne, Geelong or regional Victoria and are found guilty, you have no statutory right to prevent its disclosure, regardless of how much time has passed since you were found guilty. However, Victorian Police adhere to a Public Information Release Policy. This is an informal and discretionary practice whereby, if you are an adult and you were last found guilty of an offence more than 10 years ago, Victorian Police will not release details of those offences (subject to specific exceptions). If you were convicted of an offence when you were under 18, the period is only five years (again subject to specific exclusions).
Avoiding a conviction
To-date, Victoria does not have its own spent convictions scheme, rather the Commonwealth Spent Convictions Scheme applies to Victorian criminal offences. Therefore, if you commit a criminal offence in Melbourne, Geelong or regional Victoria and a conviction is recorded for the offence, you typically have to disclose that offence.
On the whole, there may be ways in which you can avoid a conviction. For advice about your legal options when charged with an offence, please contact one of our specialist criminal lawyers at Gallant Law. Our team of trusted lawyers can work with you to obtain the best possible outcome for your situation. At Gallant Law, we know getting charged with an offence can be upsetting so we strive to provide compassionate yet comprehensive service. Contact us to learn how we are different from your average criminal lawyer in Melbourne, Geelong and regional Victoria.