Spent and Unspent Convictions – What’s the Difference?
Spent and unspent convictions are classifications of offences that are recorded on an individual’s criminal record. But what do they actually mean and what happens if they show up on a DBS Check?
This article will help you to understand exactly what is meant by spent and unspent convictions, as well as the rules and regulations that surround them.
A quick note on rehabilitation periods
Before we define what spent and unspent convictions are, it’s a good idea to fully understand what is meant by a “rehabilitation period”.
In a nutshell, a rehabilitation period is the period of time it takes for a criminal offense to drop off an individuals’ record or become “spent”. It is set during sentencing and depends on the nature and severity of the crime in question.
What is meant by an “unspent” conviction?
An unspent conviction is a criminal conviction that is still in the bounds of the rehabilitation period. In other words, not enough time has elapsed for the offence to be considered spent. Unspent convictions show up on all types of DBS check – basic, standard, and enhanced. You need to disclose any unspent conviction when applying for a job that asks for details on your criminal background. Also, you may be asked to disclose details when applying for financial accounts, insurance, mortgages, etc.
What is meant by a “spent” conviction?
A spent conviction is a criminal offense that has completed the required rehabilitation period. Spent conviction details remain on your criminal record on the police national computer (PNC) which means they show up on certain DBS checks – not on the basic one, but they show up on the standard and enhanced checks.
Under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against applicants based on spent convictions, unless there is a safeguarding issue.
Disclosing spent and unspent convictions
Don’t be tempted to hide any details from potential or existing employers. If you are asked, you should be forthcoming with the details, because if the employer requests a DBS check, they’ll find out anyway and it always looks worse to be caught in a lie.
Many employers will take your circumstances into account. Maybe the crime was committed a long time ago and you have plenty of evidence of reforming your character.
Get an online DBS check
If you want to provide an employer with a DBS check certificate, you can always apply for a basic DBS check yourself online. It’s easy and quick to apply through our dedicated DBS check portal. We also have trained agents on hand to help you with any issues.
To find out more about DBS checks and criminal records, don’t hesitate to get in touch today. Our friendly expert advisors are more than happy to help.