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In short – yes, you can.

In Victoria, the Spent Convictions Act 2021 provides the opportunity for certain convictions to become ‘spent’, essentially removing that conviction from your record, and allowing you to wipe the slate clean.

The recording of a conviction on your criminal record can bring with it a range of negative influences on your future, including impacting your employment opportunities, your ability to secure housing, and your capacity to travel.

The concept of spent convictions is designed to allow individuals who have made mistakes in the past to move on with their lives without being burdened by the long-term consequences of a criminal record.

The Spent Convictions Act 2021 is founded on the notion of rehabilitation and eliminates unfair obstacles for those Victorians who may have committed an offence in their past but have since turned a new leaf.

What is a spent conviction?

A spent conviction is a conviction that (unless an exemption applies):

  • will not show up on a police check
  • you do not have to disclose to anyone
  • no one is allowed to ask you about

Certain types of convictions will be spent immediately. For others, a conviction can be spent automatically after a certain period of time has passed, or upon application to the Court.

Which convictions are spent immediately?

Some convictions will be spent immediately, without you having to make an application to the court.

A conviction will be immediately spent if:

  • You were less than 15 years old at the time of offending
  • You received a ‘without conviction’ outcome by the Court
  • You received an infringement conviction (a fine)
  • You received a fine imposed by the Children’s Court
  • You received a qualified finding of guilt under the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997

For a conviction to be spent immediately, any conditions imposed with the penalty (such as paying a fine) must first be completed.

When will a conviction be spent automatically?

A conviction will become automatically spent once the relevant ‘conviction period’ has passed and they have not committed any further offences during that time.

If you were under 21 years of age at the time of the offence, the conviction period is 5 years.

If you were 21 years of age or older at the time you offended, the conviction period is 10 years.

Should you reoffend during those periods, the conviction period will restart.

The conviction period commences from the date that the Court made a finding of guilt constituting the conviction.

When will I need to apply to the Court for a spent conviction?

Some serious convictions can be spent upon application to the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.

Serious convictions include convictions for sexual offences, serious violence offences, and other offences where a Court sentenced you to prison for more than 30 months.

An application can only be made after the relevant conviction period has expired.

Am I eligible for a spent conviction?

It is important to note that not all convictions are eligible for the Spent Convictions Scheme in Victoria.

Your eligibility depends on a range of factors, including the nature of the offence and the sentence imposed upon you.

If you have a criminal record and would like to know if you are eligible for a spent conviction, or if you require any assistance with making an application, please contact our office today.

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