Police Checks and Spent convictions

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Do Spent Convictions need to be disclosed?

In Australia, some crimes may be dealt with as a “spent conviction”.

This means that the conviction may not need to be disclosed after a certain period of time.

An offence which is not released, on police checks, due to the operation of spent convictions legislation is referred to as a ‘spent conviction’ and will not be disclosed. (See exceptions below)

This applies 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).

However, there are exceptions, and this is important for those applying for a visa.

Spent convictions will still be disclosed in relation to Immigration/Citizenship applications, along with many other employment application situations.

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  2. Spent convictions

    Spent convictions of specific offences are released where the check is required for certain purposes regardless of how old the convictions are. 

    Applications for National Police Checks for the Immigration/Citizenship purposes may disclose details of older convictions and/or findings of guilt.

    Every state has different policies and legislations regarding what offences and criteria qualify as being spent.  You may even need to apply for it to be classified as spent.

    Some convictions cannot become spent if, for example, the offences incurred a penalty of at least 6 months imprisonment.

    A subsequent offence, for any other reason, might revoke an original spent conviction.

    A spent conviction can be disclosed where the minister grants a permit authorising such disclosures.


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