How Long Does It Take To Get A Clear Criminal Record?
If you, or someone you know, has a criminal record it can prevent you from getting accepted for certain types of job or voluntary work. These days, many employers ask for a DBS check when you apply for a job and if convictions show up, your application may be rejected.
Employers have a responsibility under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 to not discriminate against people with a criminal record, but some jobs may not be suitable for offenders.
If this is the case, you may be wondering how long it takes for a criminal record to be cleared, or for certain convictions to drop off your record. This article will answer these questions for you.
Does A DBS Check Reveal All Convictions?
It depends on the level of the DBS check that is carried out. Below is a brief description of what convictions are highlighted for each level of DBS check:
- Basic DBS Check – Reveals only unspent convictions.
- Standard DBS Check – Reveals spent and unspent convictions, warnings, cautions, and reprimands.
- Enhanced DBS Check – Reveals the same details as a Standard DBS Check, as well as any relevant police notes that are held on file.
What Convictions Get Cleared From A Criminal Record?
The first thing to look at is what, exactly, gets removed from a criminal record, because not everything does. Certain convictions and cautions may remain on your record for longer than others, or even permanently.
Whether a criminal conviction remains on your record or not depends on the specifics of the crime, such as the severity of it, how much time has been served (whether the conviction is spent or not), and the person’s age when the crime was committed.
If the person was 18 years of age or older at the time of the offense (i.e. legally considered to be an adult), then the conviction will be expunged from their record 11 years after the conviction date (not the offense date).
Other criteria for convictions to not appear or be removed from a criminal record include:
- No prison sentence was given for the offense
- The person has maintained a clean record since the initial offense
- The crime was not severe enough to be considered a safeguarding issue.
If the person was convicted of a crime before the age of 18 years old, they are considered to be a minor in the eyes of the law. This means that the time for the conviction to be removed from the criminal record is reduced from 11 years to 5 and a half years, as long as there was no prison sentence, the crime is not safeguarding related, and the person has kept a clean record ever since.
When Are Cautions Removed From A Criminal Record?
People that commit less severe crimes are often charged with a caution rather than a full criminal conviction. Examples of less serious crimes that may be charged with a caution are things like drunk and disorderly, shoplifting, and failure to pay a fine.
As cautions are less serious than convictions, the time for them to drop off a criminal record is less.
For people that were aged 18 or over at the time the offense was committed, the caution will be removed from the record and will not appear on a DBS report after 6 years. This is only true if the crime was not safeguarding-related.
For people under the age of 18 at the time of the offense (i.e. considered to be a minor), the caution is removed after 2 years, as long as the offense was not safeguarding-related.
Which Convictions Are Never Removed From A Criminal Record?
As mentioned earlier, not all convictions are cleared from an individual’s record and some remain forever. This means that certain crimes will always show up on a DBS check, regardless of the level of check.
Serious crimes of a violent or sexual nature will always remain on a person’s criminal record. The reason for this is to safeguard children and vulnerable adults from harm.
DBS criminal record checks also reveal certain crimes that were committed overseas and these are never removed from the record. The types of crimes committed abroad that will always remain on a criminal record include terror offences, murder, sexual offences, and child abduction.