Changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, criminal convictions become spent after a certain period of time and (subject to some exceptions), individuals are entitled to answer questions about “previous convictions” as if they had no such conviction.
Under the recent Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (Commencement No. 8) Regulations 2023, the rehabilitation periods have been reduced, such that convictions will become spent sooner. The new rehabilitation periods (assuming there has been no reoffending) are as follows:
- Community Order: the last day of the order having effect.
- Custody of one year or less: one year after the end of the sentence.
- Custody of 1 – 4 years: four years after the end of the sentence.
- Custody of more than four years: seven years after the end of the sentence.
The legislation specifies certain offences for which convictions never become spent (eg terrorist, violent and serious sexual offences).
There remain exceptions in relation to disclosures in particular sectors (eg those working with vulnerable people).
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The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.
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