What a spent conviction is
A conviction becomes spent when a specific period of time has passed since the date of the conviction.
This period of time is known as a disclosure period. Once the disclosure period ends and the conviction becomes spent, it is not shown on a basic disclosure.
However, some spent convictions must be disclosed on higher level disclosures. There are also some that are disclosed according to rules. These are set out in 2 lists:
Offences that are disclosed according to rules
Some offences are disclosed on higher level disclosures for a certain length of time. This depends on what the offence is and your age on the date of the conviction.
The list includes offences such as fraud or theft. They appear on your disclosure for:
- 15 years, if you were 18 or over on the date of the conviction
- 7 years and 6 months, if you were under 18 on the date of the conviction
Offences that must be disclosed
Some offences must be disclosed on higher level disclosures regardless of how long it's been since the conviction. This includes serious offences such as rape.
Offences on this list are disclosed even if they resulted in admonishment or absolute discharge. There's guidance on how non-custodial sentences are treated.
You can apply to have spent convictions removed from your disclosure. However, if your spent conviction is on the list of offences that must be disclosed, you need to wait until a certain length of time has passed.
What an unspent conviction is
An unspent conviction is a conviction that is still within its disclosure period. It will show on a basic disclosure and higher level disclosures.
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