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Spent convictions scheme

A scheme for convictions to not form part of a person’s criminal record.

Applications for spent conviction orders cannot be made to the Court until 1 July 2022.

The Spent Convictions Act 2021 (Vic) establishes a scheme for convictions to become ‘spent’ automatically or upon application to the Court.

A conviction that is spent does not form part of a person’s criminal record. A person is not required to disclose to another person the existence of a spent conviction, or information in relation to it.

If you have a criminal conviction, your conviction may be spent immediately; automatically after a conviction period expires; or by making an application to the Court in relation to a ‘serious conviction’. 

This legislation is retrospective, meaning that it 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 automatically or by application to the court, you should seek legal advice. Go to the legal help page for more information.

Do I need to make an application?

Convictions spent immediately

From 1 December 2021, certain convictions will be spent immediately. You do not need to make an application to the Court.

A conviction will be immediately spent if:

  • the conviction is not recorded by a court; or
  • the conviction is a qualified 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

You do not need to make an application to the Court if your conviction will automatically become spent on the expiry of the conviction period.

A conviction will automatically become spent on the expiry of the conviction period if it is not 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 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.

Convictions spent on application

Serious convictions may be spent on application to the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria from 1 July 2022. You cannot make an application to the Court before 1 July 2022.

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 application can only be made in relation to a conviction after the conviction period has expired. 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.

You will only be able to make an application for a serious conviction to be spent after 1 July 2022. The application will only be made available from that date.

Resources

This is not a full list of legislation associated with this topic. See the Victorian Government's legislation website for more information.

Last updated on 01 Dec 2021
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