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  • Spent Convictions in Tasmania

    Many of you get interested in the subject of the Spent convictions scheme. The spent convictions scheme is guided by the law for each Australian state and territory. In Tasmania, the Annulled convictions Act of 2003 sees that spent convictions are usually “respected” in the state.

    Annulled offences are removed from a person's criminal record results with only "serious" offence displayed (if any). It comes after the individual satisfies some conditions, including expiring the "crime-free" period applicable without committing another offence.

    What conditions can make an offence annulled

    Under the convictions Act, a conviction will become annulled after;

    • 5 years of “crime-free” period for juvenile convictions (in a juvenile court)
    • 10 years of “crime-free” period for adult convictions

    Following that;

    • No sentence of imprisonment more than 6 months is imposed
    • The waiting period restarts if the individual gets another conviction or sentencing.
    • The waiting period begins after the individual completes their sentencing term (if imposed)

    Other conditions that can make an offence annulled are;

      ✔ If the offence is no longer considered an offence, usually due to a change in legislation, it will become automatically annulled.

      ✔ The magistrate finds the person guilty but records no conviction against the individual. Also, the magistrate may prescribe dome conditions like; community service, fines, rehabilitation and co. The offence will only become "annulled" when the individual completes it.

    What happens if my offence is annulled?

    The general benefit of an annulled offence is that it does not get disclosed in a Police Check in Tasmania. Since employers, licensing agencies and so on use police check results to assess a person's suitability for a role/application, having some offences may hamper your chances.

    However, it will be unfair to hold a "minor" offence against a person for the rest of their lives. And that is why certain offences (under the annulled convictions scheme) are removed from the person's criminal history check result. It means this conviction will not come up in your subsequent or updated criminal record checks unless you relapse into the offence.

    Benefits of having your offence annulled

    After satisfying the conditions either prescribed by the convicting court or under the scheme, and your result becomes spent, you will enjoy;

      The right to “silence” (non-disclosure)

      It means you are not obligated under any law to reveal the details of the conviction. Even if a potential employer queries you about the conviction, as long as it is not in your police records, you may deny it.

      For example; if your offence for "offence A" becomes annulled after 10 years of your good behaviour, your criminal check will read all other valid offences apart from "offence A". If you have no standing conviction, then your check will come out with a no disclosable court outcome (NDCO)

      It is not released to other agencies/organisations

      If there is no express court order or State pronouncement, your annulled convictions will not be released to the public or any organisation.

      It is an offence in Tasmania to knowingly release details of an annulled convictions without the applicant's permission.

      However, in some cases legislation permits releasing annulled convictions, for example, for the following roles:


      You can apply for more job positions

      The downside to having some offence in your criminal background check is that some organisations may be paranoid to hire.

      However, with the conviction gone, the individual becomes “free” to apply for that role. The annulled convictions Act in Tasmania is a way for individuals to begin afresh.

    What can cause my annulled records to be disclosed?

    In revised legal advice of 2013, the Tasmanian police has reviewed and released policies on how they will handle disclosure of annulled convictions. Some include;

    1. All Tasmania release police record information is per the Annulled conviction Act of 2003.
    2. The purpose of the police check will play an important role to determine if the annulled conviction is disclosed or not disclosed.
    3. Details of all informal or diversionary cautions on the Police reports are not be released
    4. The police acknowledge that individuals may refuse to disclose their annulled convictions even under oath.
    5. Where a police record is obtained from a different Police jurisdiction, the legislation applicable in the primary jurisdiction applies.

    Are all convictions eligible under the Annulled Convictions Act?

    “Minor offences” are usually the main beneficiaries of the annulled convictions scheme. If an individual commits a serious offence like;

    • serious abuse convictions/molestation,
    • Child molestation,
    • Convictions under terrorism,
    • Corporate misdemeanours,

    These offences can never be annulled.

    Serious offences generally remain in the person's criminal record for life. Offences that threaten the community and resources are usually "serious" offences and are disclosed in a national police criminal history check report.

    How can I know if my eligible police record is annulled?

    In Tasmania, applications are not usually submitted to have a police record annulled. However, individuals can still know if their eligible offences get annulled in their records by applying for a national police clearance check.

    Police Checks are nationwide documents that include all an individual's criminal history and records, including; court appearances, pending charges, traffic convictions and other related criminal offences "not annulled".

    You can obtain a valid crime check online via the Australian National Character Check.

    Should you have further questions about spent convictions in Tasmania, please contact the criminal records department of the Tasmanian police force.

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