This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Spent Convictions (NSW)


There is a limitation on how long information on your convictions can be used in New South Wales. If your conviction is spent, you are not required to disclose any information concerning that conviction to any other person and any question concerning a person’s criminal history is taken to refer only to any convictions of the person which are not spent.

Which convictions are capable of becoming spent?

All convictions are capable of becoming spent, except the following:

  • convictions for which a prison sentence of more than 6 months has been imposed,
  • convictions for sexual offences,
  • convictions imposed against bodies corporate (e.g. a company),
  • convictions prescribed by the regulations

When is a Conviction Spent?

A conviction is spent on completion of the relevant crime-free period. The crime-free period for adults is ten consecutive years, while for children it is three consecutive years.

Disclosure to Employers

Section 12 of the Criminal records Act states that any question concerning a person’s criminal history is taken to refer only to any conviction of the person which are not spent. Quite often employers will ask whether a person has been arrested by the police and not whether they have been convicted of an offence. The effect of section 12 is that a person is under no obligation to disclose any matter other than convictions that have not been spent.

Traffic Offences and spent convictions

A conviction for a traffic offence and any period of imprisonment imposed as a consequence are to be disregarded in calculating the crime-free period for a conviction for a non-traffic offence.

A conviction for a traffic offence is only relevant in calculating the crime-free period for a conviction for an earlier traffic offence.

A conviction for a non-traffic offence and any period of imprisonment imposed as a consequence are to be disregarded in calculating the crime-free period for a conviction of a traffic offence.

A conviction for a non-traffic offence is relevant only in calculating the crime-free period for an earlier non-traffic offence.

Nevertheless, the following traffic offences are relevant to calculating the crime-free period for any conviction:

  • Culpable driving
  • Dangerous driving causing death
  • Dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm
  • Injury by furious driving
  • Manslaughter

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

WHERE TO NEXT?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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