Criminal records

Your criminal record is the formal record of all your criminal convictions. You can ask the police to give you information about what is on your criminal record.

You might need to know about your criminal record when you apply for a job, work as a volunteer, work with children, apply for a security licence, or apply for an overseas visa.  The courts may also consider what is on your criminal record when considering bail, applications for restraining orders, or sentencing you for offences.

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This information tells you about criminal records. Find out:

  • what is included in your criminal record
  • how you can get a copy of your criminal record
  • how you get a National Police Certificate
  • how to get your History for Court, and
  • how to correct mistakes on your record.

What information is included in my criminal record?

The police in each state and territory keeps their own records of offences, so you will have more than one record if you have committed offences in more than one state/territory.

our criminal record only includes offences if you have been convicted by a court. What information is included on your record varies between states. Some states don’t list traffic offences as part of your criminal record, but usually the police will instead have a separate list of your traffic convictions.

If you were given an infringement notice for an offence and it wasn’t dealt with in court, it generally won’t result in a conviction being recorded on your criminal record.

In WA, your criminal record includes criminal and traffic convictions and shows:

  • The name of the offence
  • The date you were convicted
  • The penalty you received 

How can I find out what is on my criminal record?

There are two documents that contain information from your criminal record:

  • a National Police Certificate
  • your History for Court

A National Police Certificate is normally what you need if you are asked to show someone a copy of your criminal record, like a potential employer. Your History for Court can only be used for court proceedings in WA.

What is a National Police Certificate and how do I get one?

A National Police Certificate uses information from police records throughout Australia to provide a single list of convictions from every state and territory. It also includes details of charges that are going through the courts and haven’t been finalised.

It does not include convictions that are spent or any infringements you have received that were not dealt with in court. It does not include offences from when you were under 18 that the law says cannot be counted as a conviction.

If you are in WA, you can get a National Police Certificate by filling out an application at any Australia Post office in WA, or online from the WA Police website.

If you are interstate, you should contact local police to find out how to apply for a National Police Certificate in that location.

What if I am living overseas, or need my criminal record for Australian citizenship/residency?

If you are overseas, or need a copy of your criminal record to apply for Australian citizenship or residency, you must apply for a National Police Check from the Australian Federal Police.

Some countries might also ask you to provide a National Police Check when you apply for a visa to enter that country.

What is a History for Court and how do I get one?

If you are appearing in a WA court for a criminal or traffic charge, the court will usually have a document called a ‘History for Court’. This only includes information about offences in WA.  It includes the details of all criminal and traffic offences that have come through the state’s courts.

As well as showing all your WA convictions, it also includes offences that have spent convictions, charges where you were acquitted (found not guilty), and charges that were withdrawn or dismissed.

Ongoing charges that are in court but are not yet finalised are not shown on your History for Court. The courts and police will usually be able to look up any unfinished charges you are facing through their electronic systems if you are in court.

You can get a copy of your History for Court from the WA Police.

What if there is a mistake on my criminal record?

If you would like to dispute what is shown on your National Police Certificate or History for Court, you should contact the WA Police Information Release Centre. You will need to point out which convictions or information you are disputing. In some cases, the police may ask you to provide fingerprints for comparison against the police database to verify your identity.


More information

Western Australian Police Force
Australian Federal Police


Reviewed: 18 August 2022


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.