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  • Jack Parkinson

Will My Criminal Convictions Stay on my Record Forever?

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

Your past criminal convictions on your criminal record can impede your future; it can impact your ability to get a job, travel to some countries, obtain visas and loans.

If you have been convicted of a crime in the past, you may be worried about whether it will stay on your criminal record forever.

While there is no obligation for the police in Western Australia to destroy any conviction record information – you may be able to apply to have your convictions “spent”.

What is a Spent Conviction?

A spent conviction does not have to be disclosed under most circumstances and will not be included when you apply for a National Police Clearance check.

This does not mean that the offence disappears completely, the police will still have a complete record and if you have later court appearances, even spent applications are considered.

Certain situations do require you to disclose a spent conviction such as when you apply for a Working with Children Check, or if you are applying to work for a casino or the police.

Am I Eligible?

To be considered eligible for a spent conviction in WA for a past offence, the conviction must:

  • Be a ‘lesser conviction’ in which the penalty was;

    • A fine of $15,000 or less; or

    • An imprisonment term of 12 months or less.

  • Have been heard in a West Australian Court;

  • Be over 10 years old; and

  • The most recent conviction (if multiple), including traffic and interstate matters, must be over 10 years old or have a fine of under $500.

For lesser convictions these are dealt with by the Commissioner of Police.

If however you wish to have more serious convictions spent (that being penalties above the $15,000 / 12-month limit) you must make an application to the District Court.

Factors that are considered for a successful application include;

  • Your personal circumstances;

  • The type of offence;

  • The penalty you receive; and

  • Your criminal history.

Commonwealth (Federal) Offences

If you have been convicted of a federal offence, this conviction may automatically become spent after a certain amount of time under the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).

These times are:

  • For an adult, 10 years beginning on the date of conviction, and

  • For a minor, 5 years beginning on the date of conviction.

How can a lawyer help?

Lawyers would be able to advise you on whether or not you are eligible to apply to have your past criminal convictions spent. On top of that, we can assist you in drafting your documents needed to progress your application and put your best foot forward before the Courts.

If you wish to be assisted on the matters discussed above or have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us today on (08) 9408 5212 and speak with a lawyer regarding all your criminal record queries.

Please note the above is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. All situations are different and legal advice must always be tailored to the specific facts of your legal matter.

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