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Spent Convictions

In 2021, the Victorian Parliament introduced the Spent Convictions Act to commence operation on 1 July 2022. It is intended to help people who have previously committed an offence but have since been rehabilitated by protecting their criminal record from public disclosure. Doing so may assist the individual in, for example, gaining employment or permitting them to travel overseas.

 

When a conviction is not publicly disclosed, it is referred to as a ‘spent conviction’. To be eligible for a spent conviction, the individual must meet certain requirements, such as they must not re-offend for a set amount of time after being found guilty.

 

The Spent Conviction Scheme typically sees less serious convictions (i.e. a sentence of 30 months or less) automatically being ‘spent’ when certain conditions are met (i.e. following a crime-free period). Where the Spent Conviction Scheme does not automatically apply (i.e. a sentence of more than 30 months), a person may be able to apply to the Magistrates’ Court to have their conviction declared ‘spent’.

The scheme works both retrospectively and prospectively, meaning that it applies to both convictions imposed before and after the Spent Conviction Scheme commenced.

Can I Apply to the Court for a Spent Conviction Order?

A person might be able to apply to the Magistrates Court to have a conviction declared “spent”, if they:

  • Were convicted of a sexual offence and no term of imprisonment was imposed;
  • Were convicted of a serious violence offence and no term of imprisonment was imposed;
  • Were sentenced to prison for no more than five (5) years;
  • Have not been convicted of another offence for 10 years after the conviction; or
  • Were a child or young offender, and they have not been convicted of another offence for five (5) years after the conviction.

 

A person can apply for a spent conviction order in relation to more than one conviction. However, if the Magistrates’ Court refuses to make a spent conviction Order, the person cannot re-apply for at least two (2) years.

Will my spent conviction be disclosed anywhere?

Even if you have a spent conviction, it may still be disclosed to certain Government bodies and for specific reasons, including to:

  • Police;
  • Courts;
  • Other law enforcement agencies;
  • Checks conducted for a particular type of employment (e.g. working with children); or
  • Checks conducted in order to hold certain licenses (e.g. firearms licence).

 

Outside of these circumstances, spent convictions should not ordinarily be disclosed on the person’s criminal record.

 

If you are facing criminal conviction or have been criminally convicted, a specialist criminal lawyer may be able to help you protect your criminal record from being publicly disclosed. Contact the team at Executive Lawyers today on (03) 8376 6209.

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