If you have been convicted of a crime, it is in your best interest to learn the details about your criminal record.
How Long Does a Criminal Record Last In Australia and Western Australia?
A criminal record will remain on your record until it is ‘removed’ or declared spent. Several factors help to determine if you are eligible for a spent conviction.
- Your age at the time of conviction
- Whether there are any prior convictions (older convictions)
- The nature of the offence(s)
- Whether there is a demonstrable evidence that you will not re-offend
- Whether there is an adverse impact on employment.
- Where you receive your conviction
You should know that a criminal record has no point of expiration in Australia. Some criminal records may be removed if they meet the specific standards for a spent conviction.
What is a Criminal Record, and What Does it Contain?
A criminal record is a formal document listing all the offences you have been convicted of in court. The record is kept in the Australian National Criminal Database. Several authorities have access to this information for various reasons, one of which is a criminal background check.
A criminal record generally contains all of the offences you have committed. Some examples include:
- Drug offences
- Violence and sexually related offences
- Financial crimes
- Crimes against corporations
What Determines the Duration of a Criminal Record?
Does a Criminal Record Last Forever?
Police history is permanent. However, you can declare a conviction spent so it may not appear on future background checks. Some institutions can circumvent a spent conviction order. They include the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Justice and some institutions that attend to child-related work.
Some institutions also require you to declare any convictions that are spent.
How Can I Clear a Criminal Record in Western Australia?
Having a criminal record can make typical things like travelling or getting a job quite difficult. However, there are steps you can take to have some criminal records cleared through the Spent Convictions Scheme.
About the Spent Convictions Scheme
Generally, there are two kinds of spent conviction orders. One is for offences that can be spent by the police. Following the Spent Convictions Act 1988 (WA), only “lesser convictions” (where imprisonment is of 12 months or less, or a fine less than $15,000 was imposed).
Otherwise, You can get a conviction spent on 3 separate instances:
- At the time of sentencing, the person convicted must persuade the magistrate that these thresholds are met.
- Within 28 days of the sentencing where the spent conviction was not granted. This can be done via an appeal. The appeal goes to the district court.
- If the conviction is for offences that do not meet the criteria, then the next time you can declare it spent is 10 years from the last offending.
Generally, all convictions are not removed and will remain on the national police clearance check unless any 4 of the above options are exercised.
What Conditions Must be Met to Invoke the Spent Convictions Act of 1988?
There are several requirements to get a conviction for minor offences spent successfully.
- Your conviction must have taken place in a Western Australia Court
- Your conviction was lesser
- $15,000 or less
- A term of imprisonment of 12 months or less was imposed
- The prescribed period, usually ten years, has passed
- There is no law in place with the authority to override
A criminal conviction does carry far-reaching consequences. However, it does not mean you cannot move forward with your life. If you have a criminal record and are interested in learning more about removing it, please get in touch with us at WN Legal. Our experienced legal team has helped hundreds of clients clear their records, and we can also help you.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long do most convictions stay on your record?
Criminal records in Australia generally do not have an expiration date and remain permanent, except when a conviction becomes spent.
In Western Australia, the time it takes for a conviction to be considered spent and no longer appear on a person’s criminal record is usually 10 years, plus the length of the term of imprisonment imposed.
Once a conviction is spent, it will no longer appear on a person’s national police clearance check.
- How far back do criminal record checks go in Western Australia?
While the conviction may no longer appear on a person’s criminal record after it becomes spent, the police retain all details of recordable offences. This means that the criminal convictions will always show on the police record, but as ‘spent’.
- Can you get a criminal record expunged in Western Australia?
In Western Australia, there is no provision to expunge or destroy a conviction record. However, individuals may be eligible to apply for a spent conviction, which means that the conviction will no longer appear on a person’s criminal record once it is spent.
- Does a spent conviction show on a State or National Police Certificate?
In Western Australia, a spent conviction will generally not appear on a National Police Certificate (NPC), with some exceptions. The spent conviction scheme was introduced to combat discrimination against people with minor offences, and it typically does not show up on a national police check certificate for most employee roles.
However, there are exceptions to this rule, and certain offences may still be disclosed even after becoming spent.