Are Speeding Penalties Shown on Employment Police Checks?
Employment Police Checks are a key part of the screening process for most jobs in Australia. In many cases, they’re a legal requirement. Having previous convictions on your Police Check may prevent you from gaining work.
Speeding penalties are one of the most common criminal offences, so you may be wondering if these show up on an employment Police Check.
Whether a specific speeding penalty is recorded on a National Police Check depends on several factors, including the severity of the incident and the state in which it occurred.
Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about speeding charges and employment Police Checks.
Are Speeding Penalties Shown on Employment Police Checks?
Only penalties for the most severe speeding offences are likely to be shown on an employment Police Check. Severe speeding offences are penalties that result in the loss of your driving licence.
When a case of extreme speeding occurs, the relevant state body charges the individual. This charge can be appealed in court. However, if the appeal fails the speeding penalty becomes a Disclosable Court Outcome (DCO) that will appear on a Criminal Record Check.
Speeding offences that only incur demerit points are recorded in your traffic history but are not displayed on a Police Check.
In Victoria, for example, any penalty where the individual has exceeded the speed limit by 25km/h or more will result in automatic licence suspension. These speeding offences are therefore likely to appear on a Police Check if they have not been successfully appealed.
A penalty where the individual has exceeded the speed limit by 24km/h or less in Victoria merely results in demerit points and does not show up on a Police Check.
Loss of licence due to the accumulation of demerit points rather than a single charge of reckless speeding does not constitute a conviction and therefore does not appear on a Police Check.
Please also note that speeding policies vary significantly between different states. Whilst driving 25km/h over the speed limit leads to a loss of licence in Victoria, this speed will only incur a fine and demerit points in other states.
Are Speeding Penalties the Same Across all Australian States?
The speed at which a driver has exceeded the speed limit may lead to a loss of licence in one state but only incur demerit points in another.
In addition, the class of the vehicle and the setting where the offence took place can also influence the severity of the penalty.
In general, exceeding the speed limit by 45km/h in any vehicle will usually lead to automatic licence disqualification across all Australian states.
Here are the specific speeding penalties for each Australian state and territory.
In Victoria, instances where the driver has exceeded the speed limit by 25km/h or more in any vehicle will result in licence suspension. As such, these speeding offences appear on a Victoria Police Check.
New South Wales
Speeding penalties where the driver has exceeded the speed limit by 30km/h will appear on a New South Wales Police Check. This applies to all vehicle classes.
In Queensland, cases of over-speeding by 40km/h or more lead to suspension of the driving licence. Speeds less than this only lead to a fine and demerit points.
The Government of Western Australia imposes serious punishments for cases of dangerous driving. These include driving 45km/h or more over the speed limit. Overspeeding by 40km/h or less only leads to fines and demerit points.
In South Australia, exceeding the speed limit by 45km/h or more will incur a hefty fine and numerous demerit points, as well as an automatic suspension of the licence for 6 months.
This is the most serious speeding offence in the state and will appear on a South Australia Police Check.
In Tasmania, exceeding the speed limit by 38km/h or more in any vehicle will lead to loss of licence for at least three months. This offence is therefore likely to appear on a Police Check.
Australian Capital Territory
The Government of the Australian Capital Territory can convict drivers for dangerous driving, which includes driving 30% or more over the speed limit. Driving at 45km/h or more over the speed limit in any vehicle will also lead to automatic licence disqualification.
Driving at a speed of 45km/h over the speed limit constitutes a serious driving offence in the Northern Territory and can be taken to a local court.
However, surpassing the speed limit by less than 45km/h will only lead to fines and demerit points rather than an automatic licence suspension.
Do Speeding Penalties Always Lead to Convictions?
Whilst speeding penalties constitute a criminal offence and are charged as such, they do not necessarily end up as a conviction.
The first thing to note is that speeding offences not resulting in the loss of a licence only appear in an individual’s traffic history, which is different to a National Criminal History Check. Although these less serious charges are still criminal offences, they never show up in Police Check.
Appealing a Speeding Charge
Dangerous driving offences where the individual has far exceeded the speed limit have the potential to end up on a Police Check. However, they can be appealed.
When the offence is made, the culprit will receive an infringement notice from the relevant road transport agency. The infringement notice can be challenged, typically within the first 28 days of issue. If there is no objection, the conviction will pass and the licence will be automatically suspended.
All appeals are taken to court. Successful defences may draw on the following arguments:
- An emergency led the driver to exceed the speed limit
- Muscle contractions or a seizure led to a loss of control of the vehicle
- Erroneous results from the speedometer
If the appeal is successful, the individual is acquitted of the charge held against them. It will not appear on a National Police Check.
It should also be noted that minor speeding offences can be challenged as an alternative to accepting the settlement of a fine and demerit points.
If this appeal is lost, the individual will likely have a finding of guilt charged against them, even though the original offence does not constitute a criminal conviction. Findings of guilt can appear on Police Checks.
Some speeding charges can qualify for the spent convictions scheme in line with the legislation of the state or territory under jurisdiction. This is where convictions are removed from a person’s Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check after satisfying certain conditions.
Generally, an offence becomes eligible for spent status under the following conditions:
- 10 years have passed since the date of the conviction
- The individual has not been charged or convicted during the 10-year waiting period
Once a conviction becomes spent, it is no longer disclosed on a Police Check.
However, serious speeding offences, such as cases of driving 45km/h or more over the speed limit, are not usually eligible for the spent convictions scheme. These charges will always appear on a Police Check.
Please also note that the eligibility criteria and conditions of the spent convictions scheme vary between different states.
Can I Still Get a Job with a Speeding Offence on my Police Check?
In most cases, a speeding offence will not prevent a candidate from gaining employment. However, this is always up to the discretion of the employer.
Generally, employers will instead look for more serious convictions such as sexual crimes or assault charges when evaluating a Criminal Background Check.
However, hiring managers for career drivers or traffic workers are likely to screen candidates based on previous speeding offences. Having a speeding conviction may prevent a candidate from gaining employment in the following roles:
- Taxi driver; convictions for speeding can prevent individuals from gaining official accreditation
- Rider for services such as Uber, Oma, and Lyft; these employers are likely to be scrupulous with speeding convictions
- Truck driver; employers will favour candidates with a clean traffic history
- Driving instructor; only candidates with model driving records are allowed to work in this space
- Bus driver; public transport bodies may be legally obliged to screen applicants based on traffic history
If you are applying to roles in other areas but still feel hesitant about a past speeding conviction, it is always best to declare the charge to the employer. Most employers will be understanding and look past the speeding conviction.
Do Speeding Offences on a Police Check Affect Other Types of Applications?
Police Checks are not only used for employment purposes. Having a speeding conviction on your Criminal History Check may affect other types of applications too. Some of these include:
- Car insurance; some car insurers may prohibit drivers with a history of speeding from buying insurance
- Australian citizenship; applications may be rejected if the applicant has certain prior convictions, including traffic offences
- Immigration; whilst most countries will not hold a speeding charge against visa applicants, the more stringent countries may consider it when evaluating applications
What Other Traffic Offences are Shown on a Police Check?
Serious speeding is one of several traffic offences that can lead to a criminal conviction. Other offences that lead to the loss of licence and therefore appear on a Police Check include:
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs
- Extreme reckless driving
- Evading the police
- Aggravated driving incidents
The above offences are usually ineligible for the spent convictions scheme and will always be displayed on a Police Check.
How do I apply for an Employment Police Check?
Police Checks for employment as well as other purposes are now simple and convenient to get hold of.
They can be obtained directly through the Australian Federal Police or the relevant police bodies of each state. Alternatively, individuals can apply for a Police Check Online with any Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission-accredited provider.
Registered bodies like Crime Check Australia offer an efficient service that can be completed from home. Applicants just need to provide their personal details and relevant documentation and will typically receive their Police Check in a matter of hours. In rare cases, this may take longer.
Police Checks issued by Crime Check Australia draw on the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s national criminal database. As such, they can be used as valid Police Clearance across all Australian states and territories.
Most speeding penalties are exempt from employment Police Checks. Only those that result in the immediate suspension or disqualification of a driving licence are charged as convictions and therefore risk being displayed on a Police Check.
You don’t have to worry about speeding penalties that only lead to a ticket, fine, or demerit points. Whilst these are still criminal offences, they are not convictions. However, if you lose an appeal against one of these offences, it may register as a finding of guilt on future Police Checks.
Extreme speeding offences can also be appealed. The speed at which a case of over-speeding becomes a serious conviction varies from state to state. In general, any scenario where the driver is 45km/h or more over the limit will result in the loss of licence and a court charge.
A successful appeal will lead to the charge being expunged from an individual’s Police Check. Some speeding charges may also qualify for the spent convictions scheme and be eligible for omission from a Police Check once certain conditions have been met.