Under Queensland’s Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986 certain criminal convictions can become a spent conviction which means they are removed from a person’s criminal record after a set period-of-time has passed.
The timeframes for when a criminal conviction becomes a spent conviction depend on the court the person appeared in and the sentence they received.
Firstly, if a person is sentenced to more than 30 months in custody that conviction can not become a spent conviction and will remain on the person’s criminal history for life.
If your employment prospects are being impacted by a conviction which may be spent call 13 14 LAW or fill out a webform to speak to one of our lawyers.
However, if a person is not sentenced to serve time in prison or, gets a sentence of less than 30 months, then that conviction can become a spent conviction, after certain timeframes have passed.
Those timeframes are: 10 years if the person was sentenced in the District or Supreme Court or, five years if the person was sentenced in the Magistrates Court.
If a court order, such as a good behaviour bond, was issued when the person was sentenced, the time starts counting from the date when the order finished.
If the person fails to comply with the court order the time-period starts over.
Federal Spent Conviction Legislation
If you have been charged and convicted of a Commonwealth offence your conviction is governed by Federal law.
The Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914 sets out when convictions under Federal legislation become spent convictions.
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A person’s conviction can not become spent unless they were sentenced to less than 30 months jail – or avoided prison altogether.
Under Commonwealth law it takes five years for convictions a person incurred as a minor to become spent and ten years if they were convicted as an adult.
There are many exceptions to the law above and while the main outcome is that spent convictions are not disclosed on standard criminal history checks, there remain circumstances where spent convictions are disclosed.
That being said for most people applying for a job only involves a standard police check.
For people applying to become lawyers there is an obligation to disclose any information which the governing authority may consider to be relevant to their character and spent conviction legislation does not apply.
The same is true for people who apply to get blue cards or, enter a number of other professions where a character test is relevant.
One exception which breaks the other way is that under Commonwealth law a person can be granted a pardon and if this occurs (which is very rare) then their conviction will immediately become spent.