Criminal convictions to become spent – quicker.

Criminal convictions could become spent much earlier under government proposals .

Ken Clarke has proposed a massive overhaul to the length of time it takes for a criminal conviction to become ‘spent’. A spent conviction means that whilst it will always stay on your criminal record, (in most cases) you no longer have to declare it. So, for example, once your conviction has become spent, if you are asked by a future employer whether or not you have any convictions, you can quite properly say ‘no’. Employers are not allowed to refuse you employment based upon a spent conviction.

Some jobs however do require an enhanced criminal record check and if for example, you are applying for a job at a school or a hospital you will be asked about both your current and spent convictions and if asked specifically about spent convictions, you must answer truthfully.

For most offences, the new proposals reduce the length of time it will take for your conviction to become spent considerably and for anyone who has a criminal conviction and is trying to put that conviction

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behind them and make a fresh start, this is fantastic news. There will undoubtably be public outcry against the perceived risks that this will pose for society as a whole but the reality is – the more serious the crime, the longer sentence you will receive for it and the longer it will take to become spent. Some offences will never become spent.

The length of time (if ever) it takes for your convictions to become spent is currently dictated by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Under both the existing and the proposed system, the length of time it takes for your conviction to become spent (if at all) is based upon the length of sentence that you received for it.

Under the current law, the length of time it will take for your conviction to become spent is (based on an adult offender):

  • A custodial sentence of 2.5 years or more – it will never be spent
  • A custodial sentence of between 6 – 30 months – 10 years
  • A custodial sentence of less than 6 months – 7 years
  • A community sentence – 5 years

Under the proposed changes:

  • A custodial sentence of 4 years or more – it will never be spent
  • A custodial sentence of between 2.5 – 4 years – 7 years
  • A custodial sentence of between 6 – 30 months - 4 years
  • A custodial sentence of less than 6 months - 2 years
  • A community sentence - 1 year

The current news coverage about this can be viewed here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16857388

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9057643/Hundreds-of-thousands-of-criminals-to-get-clean-slate-in-law-change.html

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/53aa871a-4dcb-11e1-a66e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1lIdNL4c9

 

 

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