Spent Convictions

If you are convicted of an offence, it will form part of your criminal record. If that conviction is ‘spent’, you generally do not need to tell anyone about that conviction. The conviction will not appear on your National Police Certificate.

Having a criminal record can have long term and far-reaching effect of your employment and travel opportunities. It is therefore important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal lawyer on your eligibility for a spent conviction.

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Understanding Spent Convictions: Path to a Fresh Start

There are three ways to get a spent conviction

(1) At the time you are sentenced for a criminal offence

A spent conviction order can be made by a court at the time of sentencing. However, if the court imposes imprisonment, regardless of whether the term of imprisonment is suspended or immediate, or an intensive supervision order, the court does not have the power to grant a spent conviction.

The court must be satisfied that a person meets the following criteria:

(a)    they are unlikely to commit a similar offence in future, and

(b)    they are of prior good character and/or the offence is trivial in nature, and

(c)   the adverse effect that a conviction would have upon a person and whether that person should be immediately relieved of that adverse effect as the conviction.

(2) After 10 years from the date of the conviction

Provided you have not received a penalty of imprisonment for more than one year t or a fine of $15,000 or more your conviction(s) will be automatically spent after 10 years. This will automatically happen when you apply for a National Police Certificate.

Alternatively, you can apply to the WA Police for any eligible WA convictions to be spent, without getting a National Police Certificate. There is no fee for this application, but you won’t receive a copy of your National Police Certificate at the end.

(3) Serious Offences

If you have been convicted of a serious offence ie you received a penalty of one year or more imprisonment or a fine of over $15,000, You can apply to the District Court to have a serious conviction spent after a certain waiting period.  

The waiting period is usually 10 years plus the length of the term of imprisonment imposed. This waiting period is less for some offences. There are rules about what happens to the waiting period, if you are convicted of new offences before your old convictions have been spent. 

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