Spent Convictions Scheme Victoria

Table of Contents

How to make an application for a spent conviction order

Serious offences require an application. It’s important to seek expert legal advice before making an application. Please contact us here to speak with a criminal lawyer. We can advise if you are eligible and give you the best possible outcome.

What is the Spent Convictions Scheme Victoria?

The Spent Convictions Act 2021 (Vic) establishes a scheme for convictions to become ‘spent’ automatically or upon application to the court. This means your conviction will not form part of your criminal record. You also don’t have to disclose to another person that you have a spent conviction, or information relating to it.

This is incredibly liberating for people with a conviction. It can help you gain employment and live your life.

Some criminal convictions will be spent immediately. Others will be spent automatically after the conviction period expires, or by making an application to the court.

When can I make an application through the Spent Convictions Scheme Victoria?

Applications for spent conviction orders can be made to the court from 1 July 2022. But some convictions will not require an application. Either way, you should seek expert legal advice. Please contact us here.

Do I need to make an application?

Some convictions will be spent immediately or once the conviction period expires. Other convictions will require an application.

Convictions that require an application

You can make an application to the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria for a spent conviction order in relation to a ‘serious conviction’.

A serious conviction is defined as:

  • a conviction for which a court imposed a sentence of more than 30 months imprisonment or detention; or
  • a conviction for a sexual offence; or
  • a conviction for a serious violent offence.

Eligibility criteria

The conviction period must have expired AND you need to meet the criteria below

Source: Magistrates’ Court of Victoria

Adult offender

Child/young offender

The  was 21 or older at the time of sentencing and:

  1. no term of imprisonment was imposed for a conviction sentenced for:
    • a sexual offence as defined under section 4 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 or
    • a serious violence offence as defined under Schedule 2 of the Serious Offenders Act 2018, or;
  2. you were an adult and were sentenced for an offence other than a serious violence or sexual offence and you were given a prison sentence of more than 30 months, but less than five years.

The applicant was a child/young offender (under the age of 21 years) at the time they were sentenced for either:

  1. a sexual offence as defined under section four of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 or
  2. a serious violence offence as defined under schedule two of the Serious Offenders Act 2018, or;

an offence where you were sentenced to a youth justice centre order or youth residential centre order of more than 30 months.

Conviction period

The conviction period for the offence must have expired prior to applying for a spent conviction order. Under section nine of the Spent Convictions Act 2021, the conviction period is a period of:

  • five years, for a conviction of a young offender/child under 21 at the time of the offence.
  • 10 years for any other person.

A conviction for a new offence will restart the conviction period, unless one of the following circumstances apply:

  • a finding by a court made ‘without conviction’
  • no penalty is ordered
  • the only penalty is a fine of no more than 10 penalty units
  • the only penalty is an order to pay a victim compensation (such as for pain and suffering) or restitution (such as to restore stolen property).

Convictions spent immediately

From 1 December 2021, various convictions will be spent immediately. These will not require an application.

According to the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, a conviction will be immediately spent if:

  • the conviction is not recorded by a court; or
  • the conviction is a finding of guilt under section 17(1)(c) or 38X(1)(c) of the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997, or a finding under a provision of a foreign law that corresponds to either of those provisions; or
  • the conviction is for an offence committed when the person was under the age of 15 years; or
  • the only penalty imposed on conviction was a fine by the Children’s Court, or a court of a country other than Australia that corresponds to the Children’s Court; or
  • the conviction is an infringement conviction, or a conviction under a foreign law that corresponds to an infringement conviction.

If a court imposed a penalty with a condition attached to the conviction, the conviction will not become immediately spent until all conditions attached to the penalty are completed.

Convictions spent on the expiry of the conviction period

According to the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, you do not need to make an application to the court if your conviction will automatically become spent once the conviction period expires. This applies to convictions that are not serious convictions.

A serious conviction is defined as:

  • a conviction for which a court imposed a sentence of more than 30 months’ imprisonment or detention; or
  • a conviction for a sexual offence; or
  • a conviction for a serious violence offence.

The conviction period is five years if the offender was a child or young offender at the time the finding of guilt was made; and 10 years in any other case. The conviction period commences from the date that the court made a finding of guilt constituting the conviction.

The conviction period may be recommenced if a subsequent conviction is imposed.

What if my conviction happened before 1 July 2022?

The Spent Convictions Act 2021 (Vic) applies to convictions that were imposed before, on or after the day on which the Act comes into operation.

If you have a criminal conviction and would like to know if it is eligible to become spent, you should seek legal advice. Please contact us here to book a consultation with an experienced criminal lawyer.

How long does a criminal record last in Victoria?

A criminal record in Victoria can last 10 years from the time of sentencing if you were 18 years or over when you were sentenced. Or 5 years from the time of sentencing if you were under 18 years at the time of sentencing.

Offences more than ten years old

A criminal record, including a spent conviction that’s more than ten years old, may be released if:

  • the criminal record has an offence that resulted in a custodial sentence longer than 30 months;
  • the criminal record includes a serious offence of violence or a sex offence and the criminal records check is for a job or voluntary work with children or vulnerable people;
  • the criminal record includes serious offences where the result was not guilty because of insanity or mental impairment.

Can I get a conviction removed from my record Victoria?

Yes, you can get a conviction removed from your criminal record in Victoria. The Spent Convictions Scheme allows convictions to become ‘spent’ automatically or upon application to the court. If a conviction is ‘spent’, it will not be on your record. You also don’t have to disclose it to anyone. If you want your conviction removed, you should seek expert legal advice from a criminal lawyer.

Do I have to declare a conviction if it is spent?

You do not have to declare a conviction that is spent unless an exclusion applies. In fact, it is an offence to disclose information regarding spent convictions. It is against the law for a person who has access to a person’s criminal record held by a public authority to disclose a spent conviction. It is also unlawful for a person to fraudulently or dishonestly obtain information about a spent conviction from records kept by a public authority.

What shows up on a police check Victoria?

Police checks in Victoria will show all pending matters awaiting trial, charges, court convictions, findings of guilt (including those with no conviction), and court orders such as good behaviour bonds.

These include everything from minor offences (e.g. traffic offences) to more serious crimes.

The police check is nationwide. In other words, if the offence occurred in Australia, it will show up on the police check. But minor historical crimes are no longer included in police checks.

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