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Spent Convictions Scheme

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Disclaimer: The information below is general and should not be relied upon to determine whether or not a conviction or finding of guilt will or will not be disclosed in a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (Police Check) provided by Australian National Character Check™.

Where there is any doubt or confusion, you should first contact the Criminal Records section in the Police service of the State or Territory where the offence in question occurred and enquire as to whether the matter will be disclosed in a Police Check or not.

Legislation exists in Australian States and Territories as well as the Commonwealth that limits the disclosure of certain older offences once a period of time passes during which a person has committed no further offences. This period is known as the 'waiting period' or 'crime-free period' and is generally 10 years where a person was dealt with as an adult and 5 years otherwise (3 years in NSW).

This legislation is commonly referred to as 'spent convictions' legislation.

If a person re-offends during the waiting period, the waiting period starts again.

An offence which is not released due to the operation of spent convictions legislation is referred to as a 'spent conviction' and will not be disclosed in a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (Police Check).

There are exceptions (known as exclusions) to the non-disclosure of offences which may apply in some circumstances and might relate to either the reason a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check is being done, or the nature of an offence a person has committed. For example, State and Territory legislation generally allows that sex offences are never spent and are always released regardless of the age of the offence.

Applications for Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks for the following purposes may disclose details of older convictions and/or findings of guilt as an exclusion may exist in the State or Territory where the offence occurred –

The above list is not exhaustive and further exclusions may exist under Commonwealth, State or Territory legislation.

Before disclosing any information, Australian police agencies will apply the legislation or release policy of that State to any offences a person may have.

Where an offence is capable of being spent, it will be spent automatically. However, if the offence was a Western Australian offence, you will need to apply to the WA Police to have the offence spent. Visit the WA Police website and search 'spent convictions' for more information.

For more information on Spent Convictions, please contact the Criminal Records section of the Police Service of your State or Territory.