I Have A DUI Offence, Will It Show On My Police Check?
Traffic offences, including drink driving convictions, are not uncommon in Australia. There are many people who have a driving offence stored on their record, with punishments ranging from fines and community service to prison terms, temporary and lifetime bans.
Each state and territory in Australia has its own policies for handling a DUI offence. As a DUI offence is categorised as a criminal offence, a criminal background check for the purpose of a National Police Check will disclose details of the offence, unless subject to applicable spent convictions laws.
What Is A DUI Offence?
DUI stands for Driving Under Influence. This can refer to driving while under the influence of alcohol or driving under the influence of drugs. The charge is commonly referred to as drink driving, and Driving Whilst Intoxicated (DWI).
Many people mistakenly consider traffic offences to be less important, but a Driving Under Influence charge is considered a serious breach to Australian traffic laws, and penalties vary greatly across Australia.
Driving after drinking more than the maximum amount of alcohol legally allowed is prohibited. If stopped for suspected drink driving, a BAC (Blood/Breath Alcohol Concentration) test is performed. If the person is over the legal limit, action will be taken.
More serious crimes can result from Driving Under the Influence including dangerous driving and manslaughter in the event that a pedestrian is killed. Each comes with different sentences.
Is A DUI Offence Classed As A Criminal Offence?
Yes, a Driving Under Influence offence is classed as a criminal offence, and will be recorded on the individual’s police record.
Is The Penalty The Same In All States And Territories?
The penalty for a DUI offence in Australia differs across all states and territories. Different categories are used to assess the penalty for a person caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and there are different limits to the amount of alcohol consumed by the driver.
What Will Show On My Police Check?
Every police check performed in Australia will return one of two results.
- No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO) or
- Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCO)
A NDCO result means that the person has no police record, or the person does not have any police history information for release.
A DCO result means that the person has a police record and the details of the conviction or convictions will be disclosed. This does not include any spent convictions, unless an exclusion applies which allows for the disclosure of all past convictions.
With Disclosable Court Outcomes, an Australian police check will generally disclose all or any of the following:
- All criminal charges including suspended sentences
- All criminal offences including traffic offences
- Any findings of guilt without conviction
- Pending charges
- Court appearances
- Served sentences
What Are Traffic Offences?
Traffic offences are any offence related to driving or road usage. Offences can include driving that is performed drunk, recklessly, dangerously, and any other driving-related occurrence which breaks driving laws.
Consequences of committing a traffic offence include cautions, fines, points on licence, driving bans, and loss of licence. Some traffic offences may result in imprisonment.
What Other Traffic Offences Might Show?
Receiving a conviction for a motoring offence gives you a criminal record. This means that when a criminal background check is performed for a police check, the offence will appear in your information. This applies to fines, court appearances and prison sentences.
A traffic offence will not show on a national police check if it is a spent conviction.
What Are Spent Offences?
Spent offences or spent convictions are past offences which have met a certain criteria to become spent, and therefore making them no longer disclosable in a National Police Check.
The spent convictions legislation applies to offences which are considered less serious, and which occurred a long time ago (typically 10 years for adults and 5 years for non-adults). In most situations, spent convictions will not appear as part of the results of police clearance. But under certain circumstances, spent convictions will still be included. Circumstances include but are not limited to, employment screening for certain professions, applications for firearms, visa applications and more.
The spent conviction is not completely wiped from record, and many people may find that their spent convictions still appear on a national police check.
If you have a DUI offence which is now a spent conviction, it will not show up on your police check, except for where an exclusion applies.
Do All Traffic Offences Result In A Conviction?
While all traffic offences are criminal offences, they do not all result in a conviction. Convictions usually result in cases where the individual has lost their licence because of the offence. If tried for these offences, and the offender does not appeal (an appeal is required within 28 days) or the appeal is lost, the driver will be convicted.
Driving-related convictions will prohibit the individual from driving by taking away their drivers licence, for a period of 6 months minimum.
Traffic offences which lead to a conviction can include:
- Drink driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Evading police authorities
- Manslaughter (hit and run cases)
- Reckless driving
Will My DUI Offence Ever Disappear?
A DUI offence recorded on your record at the age of 18 or over will generally stay on your record for 10 years. For a person charged while under the age of 18, the offence will stay for 5 years under spent convictions legislation.
When Might A DUI Offence Be An Issue?
A person with a DUI offence on their record may face issues when applying for certain jobs if a criminal history check is required during the pre-employment stage.
In Australia, it is against the law to discriminate against a candidate on the basis of their criminal record. However, if the offence specifically relates to the job they are applying for or directly impacts their ability to do the job, the employer or organisation has the discretion to decide whether a DUI conviction is relevant.
Many jobs require a driver’s licence, and having your licence taken away as the result of a DUI offence could stop you from getting the job.
Will A DUI Offence Stop Me From Getting A Job?
A DUI offence found on a criminal record check should generally not affect your ability to seek employment within a non-driving role. However, there are specific fields where a traffic offence will have a great impact on getting the job, or keeping the job you have.
There are many jobs where driving is the most important element of the role. Receiving a traffic offence on your police clearance can have a negative effect on employment in these areas.
The following are examples of job specific roles which a traffic conviction will negatively impact:
- Taxi driver, bus driver, public transport driver, commercial passenger vehicles
- Truck drivers
- Ride-hailing services such as Uber
Many employers require driver accreditation to allow people to drive members of the public. A traffic conviction can result in driver accreditation being suspended, which will in turn stop you from doing the job. Ride-hailing services take traffic offence history very seriously, and a conviction could prevent you from working with these companies.
In some circumstances, jobs require that the employee have a valid drivers licence. For example, a retail position may involve using a company car. Job opportunities may be limited if your licence has been taken away because of your DUI offence. Consider the elements of the role before applying.
Some employers have policies in place to assess particular convictions. It’s important to note that some employers may request information detailing drug-related offences, and this may include driving under the influence of drugs.
While an employer cannot discriminate against a potential new employee for the information on their criminal record, they are entitled to determine if the offence is relevant to the job.
Generally, a DUI offence will not limit an individual extensively. A DUI offence, or any other traffic violations are more likely to affect a person’s eligibility to work in a role that involves driving a vehicle. A recent drink driving charge would not be ideal for people applying for a position as a delivery driver, for example.
Alternatively, a DUI offence is less likely to have an impact on a job working in an office that does not require the individual to drive or use the roads.
Will A DUI Offence Affect Me In Any Other Areas?
Any traffic charges are serious offences, and will appear on a National Police Check. Certain employment is not the only aspect of the person’s life which may suffer because of their record. While many countries around the world view DUI offences as a misdemeanor, there are some countries which have DUI travel restrictions, which could affect eligibility to travel.
Police Checks For Driver Accreditation
Driver accreditation is a scheme which operates as a vetting system for drivers carrying passengers. The scheme ensures that the driver is safe and fit to work in the industry. The vetting process protects passengers and citizens who use the driving service, and assures them that the driver meets safety standards, is fully qualified to drive, and can be trusted to bring passengers safely to their destination whether by taxi, bus, hire car or any other commercial passenger vehicle (CPV).
Driver accreditation in Australia requires a National Police Check, as well as a driver history check from the traffic database. For driver-related roles, a DUI offence is likely to be reviewed for driver accreditation. Whether or not it affects your ability to seek work in this area depends on different factors, such as when the offence took place, the details of the offence, and whether it resulted in loss of licence.
Can I Find Out If A DUI Offence Will Show On My Police Check?
To find out if your DUI offence will show on your police check, you can contact the relevant agencies in the police jurisdiction where the offence happened.
You can request information relating to their policies for spent convictions as well as information release policies relating to traffic offences.
However, the results released on a National Police Check in Australia are at the discretion of the individual police agencies, and there is no way to guarantee what the outcome will be.
If a DUI offence on your record is not yet entitled to be spent, it will show on a police check. This can be worrisome for some people, however, many jobs still allow the hire of individuals with a DUI offence on their record, as long as the offence is not directly relatable to the position.
While it may seem that a DUI offence does not cause too many problems, it is still categorised as a criminal offence, and will remain on your record for a number of years. This can have an impact on certain jobs you apply for, and prevent you from obtaining driver accreditation if the offence is recent. Driving under the influence puts the driver, and others at risk of serious harm or death.