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Home Blog Convictions that can never be Spent in Australia

Convictions that can never be Spent in Australia

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The Spent Convictions Scheme is a hopeful scheme amongst those with conviction (DCO) in their criminal records. All convictions eligible under the scheme are removed from the candidate's Disclosable Court Outcomes. And these convictions are no longer to be disclosed in the future except by special orders.

However, not all convictions are eligible to be spent in Australia. While this may come to the disappointment of the offenders, it ensures that the serious offences are given the "required attention" and caution.

What offences qualify as Spent under the Crimes Act?

Convictions given by a Commonwealth court are "Spent" automatically if they qualify under the scheme.

These offences must satisfy any of the following conditions;

When does the court grant a conviction to be spent?

As soon as the court gives the sentencing, it can pronounce the conviction as spent depending on the conditions surrounding it.

Some of the conditions where the court can pronounce an offence spent includes;

  1. The individual is granted a pardon for a reason other than that of a "wrongful conviction".
  2. The individual did not get a prison term for more than 30 months (Commonwealth),
  3. Period of "good behaviour" or waiting period has ended without another conviction.

What Offences can never be spent?

The above conditions spent on offences should give us an idea of the eligibility for offences in the Scheme.

The Offences that are eligible to be spent are given in the Spent Convictions Act (Commonwealth). And are usually minor offences or offences that attract lesser penalties.

However, these offences are never eligible for the spent conviction scheme;

Sexual offenders get heavy penalties; heavy fines, plus an extended jail term. And the State considers them as potential threats to society.

Offenders with a history of sexual assaults are registered in the State's records. And be required to state it when relocating or getting a new role.

Police Checks are a crucial requirement for most employers before they recruit a candidate. A Police Check for employment purposes contains any disciplinary and court issues the candidate has with their previous employers.

Some convictions are considered “serious” or “special” to be removed from the offender’s records. It may include issues of aggravated assaults, terrorism, child abuse, and many other special convictions.

Convictions that incur penalties that exceed 30 months are considered serious offences. These convictions are always disclosed in the Police Check certificate of the applicant.

What is a Disclosable Court Outcome (DCO)?

A Police Check result lists all the applicant’s DCOs as issued under the State’s legislation. All the convictions listed in a Police Check are the Disclosable Court Outcomes of the person.

However, not all convictions translate as a DCO. The Criminal Records and Disclosure legislation stipulates all convictions that are releasable under the Commonwealth laws and the State in the jurisdiction.

Some examples of the Disclosable Court Outcomes per Australian laws are;

Can I apply for my offence to be spent?

Offences that qualify to be spent are removed immediately from their Police/Criminal records. However, in some cases or States like Western Australia, the applicant would have to apply to the court in WA to remove a spent conviction.

If an offence is not eligible under the Spent Convictions Scheme, the court will not listen to any application.

However, the court may listen to your application to have the conviction spent if;

What happens if my offence does not qualify for the Spent Convictions Scheme?

The biggest flex of having an offence spent is that it is removed from your criminal record check result. Also, the offence does not show up in subsequent background checks or records, except by special court orders.

However, if your offences are not eligible to be spent, they will remain in your Police Check for life. Yes, a criminal record remains in the Police/Criminal Database of the Commonwealth or State for life.

Furthermore, since these offences will continue to show in a Police Check, it will influence;

What roles a non-eligible Spent conviction Scheme

If your Police Check certificate returns with DCO that are non-eligible to be Spent, then you may be refused roles in the following positions;

What conditions make an “eligible offence” to be spent?

Offences that are eligible to become Spent must satisfy all of the conditions;

It follows that the person;

Wrapping Up

If your offences are non-eligible, you will have to live with them for the rest of your life. However, it does not mean you cannot get a job or the license you apply for, but it will limit your options.

Even when you have a non-eligible conviction, avoid having another conviction in future; Build good networks and trust with employers. Good recommendations may influence a potential employer over a Police Check.

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