A range of circumstances render people ineligible for jury service. Applications for visas to travel overseas may also be affected by a police record. Criminal convictions will also limit eligibility to serve on a local council or be a member of parliament.
A person is disqualified from jury service if they:
•have ever committed an offence that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment;
•have been sentenced to imprisonment or detained in an institution for three years or more;
•have in the last 10 years been detained in an institution or imprisoned for three months or more;
•have in the last five years been detained in a juvenile institution;
•have been put on a recognisance to be of good behaviour; or
•are currently subject to a court order, bail, parole or sentence.
There are a range of other circumstances that may also disqualify a person from serving as a juror. The complete list of circumstances is set out in schedule 1 of the Juries Act 2000 (Vic). Seek legal advice if you are unsure.
Some countries require you to disclose any past arrests or convictions on visa applications. Laws vary from country to country, and you should call the relevant consulate or embassy to find out the approach taken to convictions by each particular country. You don’t have to give your name when you enquire.
The country you apply to enter will automatically check your criminal record whether or not you disclose a conviction. An international listing of criminal records called the “movement alert list” is checked. Most countries, including Australia, add details of offences committed by their citizens to the list. All countries have access to this list when processing visa and migration applications.
Having a criminal record may impact your ability to hold a public office. A person will be disqualified from becoming or remaining a councillor in Victorian local government or a member of state parliament if, when over 18 years of age, they have been convicted of an offence under Australian law that carries a maximum penalty of five years or more. Disqualification for councillors lasts for seven years. A person will be disqualified from holding a seat in federal parliament if they have been convicted of an offence that is punishable by one year of imprisonment or longer, regardless of the actual penalty imposed.