Spent and Unspent Criminal Convictions and the Rehabilitation Period

 

A criminal conviction becomes spent after a specific period of time after the conviction took place, providing no more convictions were made during this time. This period of time is known as the rehabilitation period, and the length of this will depend on your sentence. Any further offences made in this time may result in the lengthening of the original rehabilitation period. The rehabilitation period starts from the date of conviction and may be shorter if the applicant was under the age of 18 on the date of their conviction. Once a criminal conviction is spent it will not usually be taken into account during the assessment of an applicant’s good character.

Unspent criminal convictions include offences such as drink-driving offences, road traffic offences, but does not include fixed penalty notices (such as speeding or parking tickets), providing they were not given in court.

Unspent criminal convictions WILL be looked into during the assessment of an applicant’s good character. Applicants MUST provide details of all unspent criminal convictions on their application, but do not need to provide details of any spent convictions, if they become or were spent at the time of application.

Applicants must declare any offences for which they may have to go to court or are waiting on a hearing in court. This includes the applicant being arrested and waiting to find out if they have been charged formally.

Applicants living in Scotland must declare any civil penalties which are recent.

Applicants MUST inform the UKBA if they have been arrested or charged with an offence after submitting the application.

An unspent criminal conviction is likely to result in the refusal of an application; therefore applicants are advised to apply after their conviction has become spent.

A prison sentence of over 30 months for one offence can never become spent and it is likely that applications will be refused.

WHEN DOES A CONVICTION BECOME ‘SPENT’?

How a conviction becomes ‘spent’ under the ROA is dictated by the sentence given for the offence, and the rehabilitation time that applies to that offence sentence. The principles apply to convictions in a criminal court, findings in a juvenile court, certain offences in service disciplinary proceedings and hospital orders under the Mental Health Act 1983.

The rehabilitation period (the time required before the conviction is spent) will be dependent on the length of the sentence and its nature, regardless of whether it is a fine, a surcharge order, term of imprisonment, absolute or conditional discharge or probation.

Unless stated otherwise, the rehabilitation period starts from the conviction date and usually is conditional on compliance with the sentence.

 

Reference: mulberryfinch.com

 

Rehabilitation Periods

  • Imprisonment of more than two and a half years = Never
  • Imprisonment of more than six months but less than two and a half years = Ten years
  • Corrective training for more than six months but less than two and a half years = Ten years
  • Youth custody for more than six months but less than two and a half years = Ten years
  • Dismissal from HM service = Ten years
  • Prison for six months or less = Seven years
  • A sentence of Borstal training = Seven years
  • Sentence of imprisonment/detention in YOI for six months or less = Seven years
  • The majority of fines = Five years
  • Detention in respect of conviction in service disciplinary proceedings = Five years
  • Sentence of young offender detention for over six months but not more than two and a half years = Five years
  • Probation or community order (eighteen years or older) = Five years
  • Probation or community order (under eighteen) = Either two and a half years from conviction, or until the order ceases to have effect. Whichever of the two is the longer.
  • Hospital order under the Mental Health Act 1983 = Either five years, or two years after order ceases to have effect, whichever of the two is the longer.
  • Sentence of young offender detention for not more than six months = Three years
  • Conditional discharge, binding over, supervision order or reception order = Either one year after making of order, or one year after the order ends, whichever of the two is the longer.
  • Absolute discharge = Six months
  • Disqualification = The period of disqualification
  • Cautions, reprimands and warnings = Considered spent as soon as they are issued
  • Conditional cautions = Considered spent as soon as the conditions end.

Excluded Sentences

Convictions resulting in the following sentences will never be spent:

  • Imprisonment for life
  • Preventative detention
  • Imprisonment or detention for public protection, or an extended sentence under the Criminal Justice Act
  • Imprisonment, detention in corrective training or in young offender institution, for a term of more than two and a half year
  • Detention during Her Majesty’s pleasure or for life, or a sentence of custody for life
  • Particular military and court martial punishments
  • Detention for more than two and a half years for a youth convicted of a grave crime.

Reference: http://www.lawontheweb.co.uk

 

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