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  • Spent Convictions New South Wales NSW

    If you apply for a national police check in NSW, some convictions may not be released on the result. These convictions/offences are ordered "Spent" by the police authority under the presiding state legislation.

    However, this act/scheme does not apply to all convictions or all the time. Equally adopted in other State/Territories, in NSW, it is governed by the Criminal Records Act of 1991.

    The Acts guides a scheme that mitigates the effect of a person's conviction for relatively minor offences. Of course, there are some conditions or requirements attached to the act. Offences that are "Spent" are usually removed from an individual's national police check in NSW.

    What is the waiting period in NSW for some criminal records to be classified as “spent” ?

    For Adults;

    • A period spanning Ten (10) consecutive years for convictions by a court (other than the court for minors);
    • The person must not have committed any other offence punishable by prison within this period.
    • Must not be convicted of any offence punishable by prison, been in prison or unlawfully absconded.

    For Children;

    • Three (3) consecutive years after the date of the order from a children's Court.
    • The person must not receive a control order during this period, or
    • Must not have unlawfully absconded

    What happens when an offence becomes Spent in NSW?

    Generally, when offences are spent, they are removed from the individual's police criminal records. They will no longer show up in the individual's records, especially on special orders/authority.

    However, if any of your offences qualifies to be “Spent”, here are other things you enjoy;

    • Right of silence
    • You are not under any legal obligation to divulge the details of any conviction that is “Spent” even to employers. When you do this, you will not be breaking any law.

    • You will not be assessed on Spent convictions
    • Any conviction that is "spent" in your police check cannot be used against you. Even when potential employers get third party info about such convictions, it is unlawful to use it to assess you.

    • You are free
    • Certain laws may prevent an individual from applying for some roles, licenses, and co due to the offence in their Police Check result. If your convictions become spent, you will receive the same treatment as those who do not have that conviction.

      However, the only exception to these is that the Police can still give out the information on your police check to other agencies or further use by court orders.

    Who can have their conviction spent in NSW?

    Anyone can have their convictions removed from their criminal background check result under the Spent convictions scheme.

    • If you are found guilty by a court without a conviction, then such offence becomes automatically spent. Whilst the individual was found guilty, the offence will not enter their criminal record check certificate.
    • In a juvenile court, if caution is given, the order is spent once it is administered.
    • If there is proof of offence and a finding of guilt, but the court recommends a period of good behaviour bond, the finding becomes spent once the prescribed condition is satisfied. The period of good behaviour bond may be; an intervention program, community service, rehabilitation programs, and co.
    • Where there is a change in the law that convicts an individual, the convictions cease to exist. All existing ones become spent as the law is changed.

    However, if you are found guilty, with a conviction slammed, then;

      ✔ A “waiting period” of 10 years should follow before the offence becomes spent if the conviction is given in an adult court.

      ✔ A “Waiting period” of 5 years should follow before the offence becomes spent if the conviction is given in a juvenile court.

    It follows that: During the waiting period, the individual must not get another conviction for either that offence or another. If the person receives fresh convictions within this period, it will restart from the date of his new conviction. It is why the "waiting period" is also known as a "crime-free" period.

    Are all offences eligible to be spent in New South Wales?

    Not all offences can be eligible or qualify as spent. Some offences are too “serious” or potentially injurious to the community to qualify under the Spent convictions scheme.

    According to the Criminal Act code, some these offences are:

    • Convictions for which a prison sentence of more than 6 months has been imposed;
    • Convictions for sexual offences;
    • Convictions imposed against bodies corporate;
    • Convictions prescribed in the regulations.

    Anytime you apply for a criminal record check in the state of NSW, and have any of these convictions, it is disclosed in the check result.

    How do I apply for my convictions to become spent in NSW?

    In NSW, just like other states or territories in Australia, your offences become spent if/when they qualify for the scheme. You do not have to make a separate application. By applying for an updated nationally coordinated criminal history check, you will get the valid and “corrected” records of your convictions.

    How can I get a criminal history check in NSW?

    Police check applications have become more convenient for persons in NSW via accredited services like Australian National Character Check (ANCC), providing updated checks for applicants. With a PC, Tablet, or mobile device, you can complete your criminal history check application online.

    Most completed applications will get their nationally coordinated criminal history check results returned to them within 24 to 48 hours. The remaining applications that get referred for manual processing will take longer and up to 15 business days.

    Can my Spent conviction be considered sometimes?

    Spent records can also be considered for some roles/licenses that involve contact with vulnerable people or roles that are important to community safety.

    Some examples of roles it is considered in are;

    Work as a:

    • Judge
    • Police officer
    • Teacher
    • Magistrate
    • Rural Fireman
    • School Bus Driver

    What you can do if you think an offence should be Spent in your records?

    If you think any of your convictions qualifies for the spent convictions scheme, you have the right to dispute a check result.

    Contact ANCC’s customer service team via Live Chat or email should you have any questions.

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