WHAT IS A SPENT CONVICTION?
A spent conviction is an offence that has limited disclosure requirements to third parties. Having a conviction declared spent also prevents the offence from being listed on National Police Certificates. While there are exceptions to this general rule (such as Working with Children Checks, the Courts, Police and others), an individual is generally not required to divulge these offences and it is unlawful to be discriminated against on the basis of a spent conviction.
Frequently, offenders will seek a spent conviction for drink-driving, drug possession, assault, theft and fraud charges to avoid adverse impacts in relation to travel or employment. However, spent conviction orders are not limited to just those offences.
Applying for a spent conviction order may be done either at the time of conviction, or 10 years afterwards (with the exception of some possession of cannabis offences, where the applicable period is 3 years after the date of conviction). If you do not obtain a spent conviction at the time that you are convicted, the applicable waiting period of 3, or more likely, 10 years must pass before you are able to reapply so long as no further proscribed offences are committed during that period.
Process of Applying For Spent Convictions
As part of our spent convictions service, we are able to make an application for a spent conviction and conduct the necessary preparation for that application. We will gather evidence to support the application, negotiate with the prosecution as necessary, and attend court in order to make oral submissions. At times, written submissions and evidence are to be provided to the court and to the prosecution ahead of the oral submissions.
Our initial consultation fee in order to discuss your matter with one of our many criminal lawyers in Perth is $250 plus GST ($275 including GST). We will provide an estimate of fees together with a letter of advice once that initial consultation has concluded noting that the estimate of fees does depend upon a large number of factors including but not limited to demonstrating that you are a person of prior good character, that the offence is unlikely to be repeated, and that there are exceptional reasons that would justify relieving you of the adverse impact of disclosing the offence.
Proper preparation of spent conviction applications, knowledge of the law, rules of evidence and court processes is highly recommended, as refusal of a spent conviction application will render you unable to reapply for years afterwards.
SPENT CONVICTIONS FAQ
Below are some frequently asked questions concerning spent convictions. It is important to speak with an experienced lawyer about your case when proceeding with a spent conviction application.
Can I get a conviction removed?
While you cannot completely have a conviction record spent, eligibility to have the conviction declared spent will limit the disclosure requirements of the conviction. It often also prevents the conviction from being listed on a National Police Certificate.
How long do convictions stay on your record?
Australia wide legislation states that the disclosure of convictions becomes limited once a certain period of time passes in which no further offences are committed (known as a ‘crime-free period’). This is generally 10 years for a person convicted as an adult or 5 years for a juvenile.
Should a person re-offend within the 10-year period, the required crime-free period starts again.
Do I need to disclose a spent conviction?
Often you will not need to disclose any spent convictions, particularly if they do not appear on a National Police Certificate. However, there are a number of occasions where you may have to disclose that you have spent convictions.
These occasions include:
- applying for certain law enforcement careers, such as police, prison or transport officers
- when you are applying for an Australian visa
- if you require a special licence for your job, such as a security agent, casino employee or childcare provider
- to acquire a firearm
It is important to seek legal advice if you are unsure of your disclosure requirements or feel you are being discriminated against due to a spent conviction.
If you need advice on how to apply for spent convictions, our team at Stevenson Legal can help. To book a consultation, contact us today by giving our friendly staff a call on (08) 9489 4898.