The short answer: if the last conviction is at least 10 years old, then you may be able to clear your record.
Your criminal record is adduced from your criminal history, which consists of all arrests, court appearances, convictions, non-convictions and police warnings that are kept on file by the police. Naturally, you may be anxious about these past issues staying on your criminal record forever. This record may have an impact on potential job applications, should an employer make a request for you to disclose any criminal convictions.
While there is no obligation for the police in Western Australia to destroy your conviction record information – you may be able to apply for a spent conviction.
What is a Spent Conviction?
A spent conviction is essentially the same as having no conviction recorded. This means the disclosure requirements for that conviction will be limited. 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 (a key document employers may require when applying for employment).
However, it is noted that although a conviction is ‘spent’, the conviction does not disappear completely – the police will keep the record as part of your private criminal record, and your whole criminal history will be reviewed if you find yourself in court for another offence.
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.
For a full list of exemptions, you can review the Spent Convictions Act 1998 (WA), or talk to a lawyer regarding your specific situation.
How can I Apply for a Spent Conviction?
You can apply for a spent conviction while you are being sentenced. Preparing this simultaneous application will not have any impact on your actual penalty, rather this is treated as a separate matter once the sentence has been handed down.
If your concern is regarding a previous conviction, you may apply to have it spent by submitting a Spent Conviction Application form, or through a National Police Certificate application as the application includes a request for the WA Police to spend any eligible WA Convictions.
Am I Eligible?
To be considered eligible for a spent conviction in WA, 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.
All serious convictions that imposed penalties above the $15,000 or 12-month limit can only be spent by making an application to the District Court.
A successful District Court application will depend on a number of factors including:
- Your personal circumstances;
- The type of offence;
- The penalty you receive; and
- Your criminal history.
You must ensure that you provide adequate reasons for the Court to make this decision in their discretion. Carter Dickens Lawyers specialises in spent conviction applications and may assist you with efficiently working through the necessary steps to apply for such orders.
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?
If you would like to discuss your eligibility and the process involved in applying for a spent conviction, Carter Dickens Lawyers are able to guide you through this application.
If your matter concerns a serious conviction, preparing your case to convince the Court can be a difficult task, and for this reason, it is advised that you speak to a lawyer before commencing your application process.
If you require assistance with any of the matters discussed in this article, please do not hesitate to contact us today on (08) 9408 5212 for a free 15-minute consultation with one of our lawyers.
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.