How To Request That Old Convictions Are Considered Spent

If you have been previously convicted of a crime, even if you served your sentence or paid the fine, it can still cause a number of difficulties in your life. Even with the best criminal lawyer representing you, they cannot simply wipe the slate clean for you, no matter how model a citizen you are now.

However, what your criminal lawyer can do is to start the process of having your conviction considered as spent. Once this occurs, you are no longer obligated by law to disclose that you have been previously convicted of a crime to anyone.

Now you might be thinking, that if you were asked to disclose any criminal convictions that you could simply not admit anything for the reason that you have already served your punishment, be that a prison sentence, community service, or a fine. Unfortunately, it is not that simple, and worse, by withholding that information, you could be committing yet another crime.

There are a number of circumstances in which you are legally obligated to disclose any previous conviction and when we explain them, you will hopefully understand why. First, anyone who is applying to become a police, prison or transport officer must disclose. This is understandable given that those who are employed to uphold the law, should not be lawbreakers themselves.

Other roles that involve high levels of duty of care must also disclose convictions. This list sees those who work in hospitals, schools, and care centres, as well as anyone who wishes to be a volunteer.

Professions that involve licensing are normally required to disclose convictions, and these include electricians, plumbers, builders, and other tradespersons. Given the nature of the work in dealing with large sums of money, casino employees are also required to disclose.

As you can see there are a lot of employment sectors within which anyone applying for jobs must disclose previous convictions, and as such it obviously going to more difficult for those applying to secure employment.

However, there are processes that exist within the legal system that allow those convicted to have their conviction considered as spent. Now it must be understood that this is not a case of any criminal record you have being erased. In other words, nothing will ever change the fact that you were convicted of a crime, so do not consider this as a form of pardon.

What it does do is create a situation where you are not obliged to disclose to anyone, a previous conviction. As such it should make it easier for you to apply and secure employment.

The time which has to have passed before you can apply to have a conviction spent depends on whether it was a serious or lesser conviction. Serious convictions are those which has a punishment of a fine of at least $15,000 or a prison sentence of greater than 12 months. Lesser convictions are those with less than 12 months imprisonment and a fine less than $15,000.

For serious convictions, you normally have to wait for a period of ten years, plus the length of any prison sentence. You apply to the District Court, who will consider all factors relating to your crime.

For lesser offenses, you can pay a fee, and apply to the police for a National Police Certificate. This will automatically request that your convictions are spent, and this is shown on the certificate. The waiting time is usually ten years plus any prison sentence, although in many of these lesser convictions no prison sentence was imposed.