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Spending a Conviction frequently asked questions

 

What is a Spent Conviction?

 Having a conviction declared spent effectively limits the disclosure of that conviction. For example, a conviction which has been spent is not listed on a National Police Certificate. However, certain government departments, licensing bodies as well as the Police and Courts of Law have exemptions under the Spent Convictions Act 1988 and have access to convictions that have been spent.


How do I apply for a Spent Conviction?

 A National Police Certificate application incorporates a request for WA Police to spend any eligible WA Convictions. This means that any time you apply for a National Police Certificate the WA Police will review your convictions and their eligibility to become spent under the Spent Convictions Act 1988.

Alternatively, a separate, spent conviction application form can be downloaded here.

You may also apply for a Spent Conviction through court at the time of sentencing. You should obtain independent legal advice in this regard.

WA Police can only spend a lesser conviction heard in a WA Court. A lesser conviction is one for which a fine of $15, 000 or less or a term of imprisonment not more than 12 months was imposed.

For a conviction to be eligible to be declared spent the conviction in question must be over 10 years old. In addition, the most recent conviction (which includes traffic and interstate matters) must be over ten years old or have a fine of less than $500.

A Serious Conviction is one for which the fine exceeds $15,000 or the term of imprisonment exceeds 12 months. Serious convictions can only be spent by a District Court judge. For more information please contact the District Court on (08) 9425 2222 or seek independent legal advice.


What are the consequences of a conviction becoming spent?

 Having a conviction declared spent effectively limits the disclosure of that conviction. For example, a conviction which has been spent is not listed on a National Police Certificate. However, certain government departments, licensing bodies as well as the Police and Courts of Law have exemptions under the Spent Convictions Act 1988 and have access to convictions that have been spent.

If a conviction is considered spent,  the individual is not obliged to disclose any details of that conviction and any questions concerning an individual’s criminal history is taken to refer only to any convictions which are not spent.

Finally, where an Act or statutory instrument applies to a person, any reference to a conviction is taken to be a reference only to any convictions of the person which are not spent, and any reference to a person's character or fitness does not provide for consideration of spent convictions in that assessment. Certain exceptions apply and are detailed in the Spent Convictions Act 1988.


How long will it take to process my Spent Conviction application?

Though there is no set timeframe, a spent conviction application should be completed within 15 working days.

If your application was made more than 15 working days ago and you haven’t received a response you can email us.


Can WA Police spend interstate convictions?

No, the Western Australia Police can only spend a lesser conviction heard in a West Australian Court.

For details on the spent conviction process for other jurisdictions please contact the relevant police agency.


What Convictions are eligible to be spent?

WA Police can only spend a lesser conviction heard in a WA Court. A lesser conviction is one for which a fine of $15, 000 or less or a term of imprisonment not more than 12 months was imposed.

For a conviction to be eligible to be declared spent the conviction in question must be over 10 years old. In addition, the most recent conviction (which includes traffic and interstate matters) must be over ten years old or have a fine of less than $500.

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