It is important to know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to past convictions.
Is my conviction spent?
When a conviction is spent, this means that it gets removed from your record once certain conditions are met. It also means that you no longer have to disclose the conviction, except in certain circumstances.
When does a conviction become spent for people under 18?
Most convictions received for offences committed when aged under 18 become spent after three years once certain conditions are met.
The conditions are as follows:
- The offence was committed before you reached the age of 18
- The offence is not one required to be tried by the Central Criminal Court (such as murder or rape)
- At least three years have passed since you were found guilty
- You have no other offences in that three year period
This is done automatically, so you don’t have to apply to ensure a conviction becomes spent.
When does a conviction become spent for people over 18?
Some offences committed when aged 18 or over stay on your record. They can have adverse consequences for things like job and housing applications.
However, a range of minor offences become spent after seven years. This means that an adult convicted of one of these offences does not have to disclose the conviction after 7 years, except in certain circumstances.
The following convictions become spent after 7 years:
- All convictions in the District Court for motoring offences except for convictions for dangerous driving which are limited to a single conviction
- All convictions in the District Court for minor public order offences
- A single conviction (other than a motoring or public order offence) in the District Court which resulted in a term of prison term of 12 months or less (or a fine)
These convictions become spent 7 years from the date the sentence became operative, as long as you have complied with the sentence or order imposed.
Any conviction for a sexual offence or an offence which was tried in the Central Criminal Court cannot become spent convictions.
Does my conviction still count in other countries?
Although the offence will be considered as spent here, you may still have to declare the offence for international travel, as Irish laws only apply to this jurisdiction. If you plan to travel to another country, you are subject to that country’s laws and may have to disclose such convictions.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to travel and work, but you could be required to provide further information, or attend an interview at a relevant embassy. This can be a slow process, so make sure it’s all done in good time if you’re looking to travel or move abroad.
Do I ever have to disclose a spent conviction?
In general, you do not have to disclose a spent conviction when supplying information on past convictions. However, you may have to disclose a spent conviction in court proceedings in the circumstances set out in Section 7 of the Act.
You must also disclose spent convictions in the following situations:
- In a Garda interview following your arrest in connection with the investigation of an offence
- When applying to enter, be or remain in the State
- When applying for Irish citizenship
- In an application or during an investigation under Part 3 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010
If you have been convicted of fraud, deceit or dishonesty when making a claim under a policy of insurance or a policy of assurance, you have to disclose that conviction on any insurance or assurance proposal or form.
Disclosure is required if you are applying for certain types of licence. These licences include public service vehicle, private security, taxi and firearms licences. In general, you do not have to disclose a spent conviction when you are looking for employment. However, you have to disclose any spent convictions if you are applying to work for certain bodies. This includes the Garda Síochána, the Courts Service and some government departments. Find the list of bodies that you must disclose spent convictions to.
Need more information?
We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.