Got a question? Ask Lawmail

Send your questions to Lawmail

Can't find the info you are looking for?Got a problem you can’t solve?

If you're under 25, or an adult asking on behalf of a person under 18, you can send your questions to Lawmail and we will email an answer to you in under 10 days. Urgent matters are dealt with more quickly.

Go to Lawmail. It’s free and confidential.

All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Warnings and Formal Cautions

 

Informal Cautions

Formal Cautions

What happens after I receive a caution?

How do formal cautions my criminal record?

Informal Cautions

Generally, you may not have to go to court if you are in trouble for the first time and it is for something minor. Instead, the police may give you with an informal caution if they think it is appropriate.

In order to receive an informal caution, you have to admit that you did the crime.  After being issued with an informal caution, no further action can be taken by police about that offence.    

The informal caution you receive will not go on your record.

 

Formal Cautions

Alternatively, the police may issue you with a formal caution if they think this is more appropriate than an informal caution.
How are cautions given?
Before giving you a formal caution, the police officer must explain to you:

  • the nature of the offence and how they think it has occurred;
  • that you are allowed to have a lawyer if you want; and
  • that you are allowed to have the offence dealt with by a court instead if you want.

Also, for a formal caution to be issued to you, you have to first agree to be given one.  If it is practical to, the police must make sure you agree to this in front of a parent or another responsible adult.
As part of the formal caution, the police may also require you to promise to do one or more of the following:

  • pay for loss or damage to any property because of the offence;
  • promise to pay for any injury suffered because of the offence;
  • do community service of no more than 35 hours;
  • make an apology to the victim of the offence;  and
  • anything else that is appropriate in the circumstances.

 

What happens after I receive a caution?

After being issued with an informal caution, no further action can be taken by police about that offence. You receive a caution instead of having any other criminal penalty.  

 

How do formal cautions my criminal record?

If the police give you a caution, the police must record it.  If you do end up going to court for an offence under the Youth Justice Act, a formal caution can be used as evidence of the offence you were cautioned for.   Generally the police will not release this information on a record check.  The only time they will release this information is if you are applying for a job to work with vulnerable people like children, or applying to be a doctor, teacher, judge or someone similar.  



This page was last updated 28 June 2015.

   
**************************************************************************************
  Insert text regarding ALL STATES here.
  You can choose to insert either:
     · Content that directly applies to ALL STATES of Australia.
     · A footnote that will be seen below the existing content of each state.
**************************************************************************************