In this section
If you go to court and you tell the court you have broken the law (you plead guilty) or, even if you don't plead guilty but the court says you are guilty, then you are convicted. The court does not always record a conviction.
The law on whether you have to tell people that you've been to court for breaking the law (even if no conviction is recorded) is complex. If you're not sure about whether you have to tell someone that you've been charged, been to court, been convicted etc, ask a lawyer for legal advice.
No (with some exceptions), but you have still been charged with breaking the law and you have still been convicted, because a conviction means that the court has found you guilty or the court has accepted your plea of guilty.
You can check your criminal history by going to your local police station and filling in a form. There is a fee for this.
Not always, as long as you weren't given jail for more than 30 months as part of your sentence.
you can say you have no convictions.
The time that has to pass (called the rehabilitation period) after which you don't need to mention you have been convicted is:
If you break the law again, this can make the rehabilitation period longer. It can even make it completely start again. There are many exceptions to not having to mention your criminal history even though the rehabilitation period has passed, like:
The law in this area is technical and there are many exceptions. If you want to know if you have to mention that you have been convicted or charged, always read any documents you have been given very carefully, and ask a lawyer for legal advice.
Your prior criminal convictions can affect how you are sentenced for any new offences you are convicted of. You may be given a more serious sentence if you have committed similar offences in the past.
When sentencing you, the court may consider what offences you have been convicted of in the past. This includes offences that you were convicted of as a child and whether the convictions were recorded or not.
When deciding how your previous criminal convictions will affect your sentence, the court will consider:
For more information about penalties and sentencing, see Possible penalties and sentences.
You should get legal advice.
If you are or have ever been a participant in a criminal organisation, the Commissioner of Police may disclose your criminal history if they are satisfied it is in the public interest to do so. This could include notifying other authorities or publishing your criminal history to the public. You should get legal advice.
For more information about being a participant in a criminal organisation, see Participating in a criminal organisation.
If you work with children, either as a paid employee or as a volunteer, you may need a suitability notice called a blue card.
To get a blue card you will need to apply and undergo screening called a 'working with children check' carried out by Blue Card Services.
The agency will consider your criminal history and any disciplinary material held about you by professional organisations. They will also take into account any police investigations into allegations of serious child related sexual offences, even if no charges were laid because the child was unwilling or unable to proceed with the complaint. Certain criminal offences in your record called 'excluding offences' will preclude you from a blue card for life.
If your application is refused, you receive a negative notice. If you have not been precluded from having a blue card for life, then a negative decision may be reviewed by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). You must apply for a review within 28 days. There may be exceptions – refer to your notice or contact QCAT.
You can complain about discrimination in the workplace on the basis of criminal record to the Australian Human Rights Commission. AHRC will try to resolve the complaint by conciliation. If the complaint does not resolve, AHRC will prepare a report for the Federal Government with its recommendations, however you cannot enforce a AHRC recommendation. If you think you have been discriminated against because of your criminal convictions, you should get legal advice.
You may need legal advice if you
Legal Aid Queensland may give advice about criminal convictions, disclosing criminal history and other personal information.
Legal Aid Queensland may give advice about preparing to appear in QCAT to have a blue card decision reviewed.
The following organisations may also be able to provide you with legal advice.
Community legal centres may give free preliminary legal advice and information on some criminal law matters. Most CLCs do not provide legal representation. Check with your closest CLC whether they can assist with your matter.
Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private solicitor who can provide advice and representation.
Important: before seeking legal advice about a criminal conviction, you should get a copy of your criminal history to show the lawyer. Application for criminal history can be made at any police station. You will need to present photo identification and pay a fee. Queensland Police Service website provides more information.
These organisations may also be able to help with your matter. They do not provide legal advice.
Blue Card Services conducts screening to determine a person's eligibility to work with children and young people.
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) reviews some decisions made by government departments and statutory authorities.
Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) can help with complaints about discrimination in the workplace on the basis of criminal record.
Queensland courts provide information for people going to court (defendants and witnesses) and general information about the different types of courts in Queensland, eg Magistrates, District, Supreme, Mental Health Court, Childrens court, Coroners court, and more.