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Spent convictions

A spent conviction is a criminal conviction that, under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, can be treated as 'spent' after a certain length of time.

Spent convictions are not disclosed on basic disclosures. However, some spent convictions have to be disclosed on higher level disclosures.

Spent convictions that are disclosed according to rules

Some spent convictions have to be disclosed for a certain length of time. This depends on what the offence is and your age on the date of the conviction.

Offences that are disclosed according to rules include those such as fraud or theft. These convictions will 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

You can apply to have spent convictions removed from your disclosure. To do this, you need to contact Disclosure Scotland within 10 working days of the date of issue on your certificate to tell them you intend to apply.

If you do not contact them, Disclosure Scotland will send a copy of your certificate to the person who countersigned your application.

Spent convictions which must be disclosed

There are some offences that must be disclosed regardless of how long has passed since your conviction. This includes serious offences such as rape and other sexual offences and certain terrorism and firearms offences.

You can apply to have these removed from your disclosure once a certain amount of time has passed.

To apply, the amount of time that must have passed since your convication is::

  • 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
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