If you have been charged with a criminal offence, our team of lawyers are here to help.
If it is your first criminal offence and you are worried about the adverse effect a conviction may have on yourself, your future career, or travel plans we may be able to assist you in an application for a Spent Conviction Order.
What is a Spent Conviction?
If a person is granted a Spent Conviction Order, by the Court, this means that person does not have a legal obligation and will not ordinarily need to disclose the criminal conviction to any third party, for example, a potential employer (except in particular circumstances, which we can discuss with you).
A Spent Conviction Order will mean the particular conviction that is the subject of that Order will not be recorded, or show up, on a persons State or National Police Clearance.
When will I need to disclose a Spent Conviction Order?
As with most things, exceptions do exist and there are some circumstances where Spent Convictions will need to be disclosed to third parties. The full list of exceptions are set out in Schedule 3 of the Spent Convictions Act 1988 (WA) these exceptions include, but are not limited to, situations whereby a person intends to be:
- Appointed as a Police Officer under the Police Act 1892 (WA); or
- Considered for employment, as a prison officer under the Prisons Act 1981 (WA); or
- Considered for the grant of a licence as a casino employee; or
- Work with children; or
- Apply for a Firearms Licence pursuant to under the Firearms Act 1973 (WA).
When is an application for a Spent Conviction Order made?
An application for a Spent Conviction Order in the Magistrates Court is best made at the time a person is sentenced for an offence. This means a person who has been charged with a criminal offence must have first pleaded guilty to the offence. At the time the person is to be sentenced for the offence submissions can then be made to the Court with respect to the application for the Spent Conviction Order.
In certain circumstances – and after a “prescribed period” – you can apply to spend a previous conviction. This is usually ten years, and only if certain circumstances apply, so it is best to contact us for a discussion if you think this might apply to you.
What needs to be established for a Spent Conviction to be granted?
Section 45 of the Sentencing Act 1995 (WA) (the Act) sets out the legal elements which must be satisfied for the Court to grant a Spent Conviction Order.
Section 39(2) of the Act provides that a Court sentencing an offender must not grant a Spent Conviction Order unless it is satisfied that the person who has committed the offence is unlikely to commit the same offence again having regard to either:
- The fact that the offence itself is trivial; or
- The previous good character of the offender.
The Court must also be satisfied that the offender should be relieved immediately of any adverse effect that any conviction might have on the offender.
What does the process usually involve?
This process generally involves providing the Court with supporting documentation in order to satisfy the Court that an Order should be granted in favour of the person who is being sentenced. We can assist you to collate this documentation, and make submissions to the court on your behalf.
Our team is highly skilled and experienced in advising on all aspects of Crime and Traffic Law. Contact us today if you need advice or representation in this area.