Do Dropped or Dismissed Charges Show up on a Police Check?
Do dropped or dismissed police charges show up on a Police Check? This is a very common question that gets asked at Worker Checks.
Having a conviction or other disclosable court outcome on your Police Check is a situation that can cause some difficulty with employers or other businesses that require your National Police Check. A conviction in your criminal history may set you back in aspects including;
- Seeking employment
- Getting a volunteer role
- Getting a license, accreditation or other purposes.
If a court does not record a conviction or the charges against a person are dropped or dismissed, no conviction or disclosable court outcome will show up on a police check result.
What are Dropped or Dismissed Charges?
The Court will drop any charges against you if any of the following occurs during the hearing;
- The victim refuses to cooperate
Where the alleged victim attempts an unfounded or unserious action toward an allegedly innocent perpetrator. Examples may include;
– Failing to appear in court,
– Flouting all court deadlines and orders
– Refusing to provide a witness or evidence in court
- There is insufficient evidence
Every charge the victim/prosecutor brings must be backed by evidence. All this evidence must be tendered in court to back up the charge.
However, if the victim or prosecution team cannot provide evidence to back up their claims, the court will dismiss the charge. The court usually considers such issues as “waste of court resources”.
- New information resurfaces that places doubt over previous evidence
If additional, or more credible evidence is provided to the court that refutes, or places doubt on previously evidence, the court will likely dismiss all previous charges and pronouncements.
- The prosecutor/victim drops the charge
The prosecutor agrees to an out of court settlement; before the trial, or drops all charges during the trial. Once the prosecutor announces their position to the judge, the court will dismiss the case. When the court drops your charges, they will acquit you and all other defendants and close the case.
Therefore, Dropped or Dismissed charges do not show up on a police check in Australia as there is no conviction recorded by the court, and hence there is no disclosable court outcome.
What offences show up in a Police Check
A police check discloses a person’s criminal history as relating to the purpose stated in the application.
If you apply for a Police Check, here are some of the offences you may find;
- Convictions/Charges against corporate organizations
- Sexually related offences
- Traffic charges for which an individual is convicted in a court
- All Sentences and Convictions
- Pending court charges and offences
- Other offences not under the Spent Convictions Scheme
What are Non-Conviction Offences?
Aside from Dropped or Dismissed charges, there are other ways a person can avoid a conviction in their criminal record. If the offender agrees to certain pre-stipulated agreements/orders, the court will grant them non-conviction sentencing.
Non-conviction sentencing means the candidate does not have a conviction record. However, it can be disclosed in their Police Check depending on the purpose of the check and the agreements
Under the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW), the court can use its discretion to order any of this non-conviction sentencing;
- Section 10 (1) (a)
The court will give such orders where there is a finding of guilt but dismisses it without recording a conviction against the offender.
- Section 10 (1) (b);
The court will issue non-conviction sentencing of this kind where there is a finding of guilt and decides to release the offender on a Conditional Release Order (CRO). However, the (CRO) must fall under section 9 (2) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.
- Section 10 (1)(c)
The court will discharge an offender without recording a conviction if they enter into special agreements. It will include the offender being part of intervention programs and other special conditions stipulated in court.
Spent Convictions: Depending on the State’s legislation or the Spent Convictions Scheme, some offences are not included in your Disclosable Court Outcomes.
Spent convictions are expunged from an individual’s updated Police Check. However, several conditions make an offence eligible for the spent conviction scheme. Some of these conditions are;
- Ten (10) consecutive years of waiting period elapses since the person was convicted of the offence (in an adult court).
- Five (5) consecutive (3 for Juveniles in NSW) years of the waiting period elapses since the person was convicted of the offence (in a youth court/as a juvenile).
It also follows that;
- The individual must not be convicted of any punishable offence during this waiting period, or the period restarts
- If a jail term is imposed, the crime-free period begins after the jail term.
- Convictions stipulated by the court; the individual meets special conditions (community works, therapy, self-quarantine, and co.)
What is the impact of non-conviction sentencing?
Most non-conviction sentencing will not show in your criminal records after you meet the agreement or conditions of the orders. And in most cases, you do not have to disclose the details of this record to an employer or any other person.
If your charge is dismissed under Section 10 (1)(b), the records will remain in your criminal history for the duration of the order. If your conditional release order was for 10 months, the offence remains in your national criminal record for that period.
Can I apply to have my offences withdrawn?
An accused person can apply to have these charges withdrawn before the Magistrate hears the matter. Some examples where the person can apply for a withdrawal includes;
- In cases where the Police acted inappropriately,
- The evidence used was illegally obtained
- Where the case is a trivial one per State/Territory laws
If the court approves of your application, all charges against you will be dropped/withdrawn. And you will not face further charges for that offence nor have it in your criminal records.
Such applications can be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Offences that do not show in your Police Check
If an offence or conviction does not show on your Australian criminal history check, you have the right of no disclosure.
Also, such convictions cannot be used to assess you in cases where your Police Check certificate is required.
If you are charged for an offence; discuss with your lawyers if the prosecution or victim will agree to drop the charge on special arrangements. However, if this is not possible, you can inquire about a diversion program or other intervention programs.