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Besides the immediate sentence, one of the main concerns people have when they receive a conviction is how this may impact on their life and opportunities in the future. It is not unusual to have a conviction with statistics revealing that there are 11 million individuals with a criminal record in the UK. In this blog post we will discuss convictions, when a conviction is spent and the impacts a conviction could have on education, employment and travel.
Whether your conviction will show on your criminal records is dependant on whether it is ‘spent’ or ‘unspent’.
A spent conviction is one that has reached a specific rehabilitation period and as such is removed from a person’s criminal record. An unspent conviction is one that will show on a person’s criminal record and a basic criminal record check.
The rehabilitation period depends on the sentence received. If you received a custodial sentence over 30 months, then your conviction will never be spent. If you received a custodial sentence over 6 months but less than 30 months, then the rehabilitation period will be 10 years (5 years if convicted when under 18). After the 10 (or 5) years your conviction will be spent. If you received a fine or community service order, then your rehabilitation period is 5 years (2 and a half years if under 18). If you received probation, then the rehabilitation period is for the length of the order or one year, whichever is longer.
There will always be a record of the historical crimes that a person has been convicted of, but only some will show up on a DBS check. This depends on a number of factors such as the nature of the crime and the age of the offender at conviction.
There are over 1000 criminal offences which even if they become ‘spent’ would still show on a DBS check.
If the individual was over the age of 18, the offence will only be removed from their DBS check if:
If the individual was under the age of 18, the offence will only be removed from their DBS check if:
Employers are entitled to ask a potential candidate to disclose whether they have a criminal record. Whether you are required to declare spent or unspent convictions depends on the circumstances. Some employers, depending on the position have a legal obligation to file for a DBS check, this is the case with jobs that involve children or vulnerable people.
A criminal record may also prevent you from entering into certain professions. This may be the case for law, accounting, healthcare and childcare as some regulatory bodies set high standards. Although, this is also the case of unregulated professions. Employers are legally permitted to discriminate against a job application if they have an unspent conviction, regardless of whether the conviction is linked to the line of work.
You can still attend University if you have a previous conviction however, depending on the course you wish to study, you may have to disclose your criminal record. For example, if you wish to study a course where you would be working with children or vulnerable people such as social work, teaching, medicine or nursing.
A previous conviction can impact on your ability to travel. If you are on licence, you will normally need to get permission to travel outside the UK which may only be given in exceptional circumstances. Furthermore, you also may be restricted from travelling to certain countries for example Australia or the US. Any previous convictions will have to be disclosed in an application for a visa.
If you have any queries, or wish to discuss whether your conviction is spent or unspent, please contact our Criminal Team call 01268 792994 or 01245 493959 or you can send an email.
- 25 May 2023
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