Applying for old convictions to be spent

An old conviction is one that has been on your criminal record for some time. This information will help you to understand more about how to get old convictions spent.

Video: How do you ask for old convictions to be spent?
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Find out:

  • when you can apply for an old conviction to be spent
  • the difference between a serious conviction and a lesser conviction
  • how to get a serious conviction spent
  • how to get a lesser conviction spent, and
  • how to get a Commonwealth conviction spent.

Can I apply for an old conviction to be spent?

You can apply to have your old conviction spent after a certain waiting period. You can’t apply to have your old conviction spent if you were sentenced to life imprisonment for the offence.

What is the difference between a serious conviction and a lesser conviction?

  • A serious conviction is where the penalty was imprisonment for more than one year, or a fine of $15,000 or more.
  • A lesser conviction is where the penalty was one year imprisonment or less, or a fine of less than $15,000.

How do I get a serious conviction spent?

You can apply to the District Court to have a serious conviction spent after a certain waiting period. This waiting period is usually 10 years plus the length of the term of imprisonment imposed (rather than the time actually spent in prison). This waiting period is less for some offences. There are rules about what happens to the waiting period, if you are convicted of new offences before your old convictions have been spent.

The Judge takes into account a lot of factors when he is deciding whether or not to declare your conviction spent.

Legal Aid WA has made a kit that you can use to help you apply.

How do I get a lesser conviction spent?

You can ask to have eligible lesser convictions spent when you apply for a National Police Certificate, or you can apply separately to the WA Police (for free).

The waiting period before a conviction can be spent is usually 10 years, plus the length of the term of imprisonment imposed (rather than the time actually spent in prison). There are rules about what happens to the waiting period, if you are convicted of new offences before your old convictions have been spent.

The WA Police website has more information about applications to have lesser convictions spent.

Can I get a spent conviction for Commonwealth (Federal) offences?

Yes, it can become spent under the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth). If you didn’t go to prison, or you went to prison for 30 months or less, the conviction will usually be spent automatically after a certain amount of time. The waiting periods are:

  • for an adult, 10 years beginning on the date of conviction, and
  • for a minor, 5 years beginning on the date of conviction.

 

Resources

Legal Aid WA also produces a detailed kit to help people apply to have old convictions made spent.

More information

 

Reviewed: 12 April 2018

Move on from past mistakes

A guide to help you remove old convictions from your National Police Certificate.

Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.