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Spent conviction

A “spent” conviction or caution is one which, under a scheme established by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, no longer needs to be disclosed, eg to a future employer.

Broadly speaking, a conviction for which someone is sentenced to less than two and a half years in prison, or to a non-custodial sentence, becomes spent within a specified period of time (between six months and ten years) provided that the person does not reoffend during that time. However, in specified situations (governed by secondary legislation) an ex-offender’s right not to disclose a conviction or caution does not apply, including when applying to work in certain types of job or with children or vulnerable adults.

For general information, see Liberty, Criminal Records and associated fact sheets.