If you’ve been convicted of a crime in South Australia, you’ll likely be aware that your conviction will be on your criminal record. But after a certain period of time, convictions can become spent convictions and won’t be disclosed in criminal history checks.
The Spent Convictions Act 2009 (SA)
The Spent Convictions Act 2009 (SA) outlines which convictions will become spent and how this occurs.
An adult conviction will automatically become spent after 10 years (from the date of the conviction) if:
- it wasn’t a sex-related offence, and
- involved fewer than 12 months of imprisonment or a penalty not involving imprisonment.
Sex-related offences can only become spent if 10 years have passed since the conviction and no imprisonment was involved. An application will need to be made to the court in order for an eligible sex-related conviction to become spent.
Juvenile convictions (non-sex related) can become spent if the term of imprisonment was shorter than 24 months, and five years have passed since the conviction.
Some circumstances demand spent convictions be disclosed, especially with regards to employment in particular areas.
These exceptions include cases in relation to:
- caring for children and vulnerable people,
- parole boards,
- emergency services, and
- justice and commonwealth agencies.
A full list can be found in schedule one of the Spent Convictions Act 2009.
If you’re applying for a position working with children or vulnerable people, or a position that involves taking a character test, you can apply to have your spent conviction not disclosed. A magistrate will look into the application and decide whether your case warrants not having the conviction disclosed. If your application is rejected, you must wait two years to reapply.
It is an offence for someone with access to conviction records to disclose a spent conviction, with the maximum penalty a $10,000 fine.
If you’re unsure about your rights, consult a criminal lawyer.
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