What is a spent conviction?
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 has given people the right not to have to disclose a conviction after a certain amount of time. This is when the conviction is called ‘spent.’ The amount of time until it is spent depends on the crime that was committed.
For example, if you got a suspended prison sentence, or you served six months or less, your conviction is spent two years after you have served your sentence, which starts from the date you were convicted in court. If you committed a crime and you were sent to prison for four years or more, this crime is never spent.
If you need to find out of your convictions are now ‘spent’ you can visit a website called Unlock, a site especially for people with convictions with a lot of useful information to help you understand your situation.
Remember though, you don’t have to disclose spent convictions. Insurance companies may ask you to supply an official basic disclosure form which can be obtained from Disclosure Scotland for £25 (you don’t have to be from Scotland to get this).