This article Victorian Spent Convictions Law is written by Nikhil Sood, Defence Lawyer, Emma Turnbull Lawyers, Specialist Criminal Lawyers.
Nikhil has always had a passion for social justice, criminal law and advocacy. He understands that any interaction with the criminal legal system is a daunting and traumatic experience and has a unique ability to build rapport with clients from any background.
Introduction: This guide aims to provide you with a preliminary understanding of the legislation surrounding spent convictions in Victoria, including information on the relevant laws, eligibility criteria, and the process of applying for a conviction to be spent.
Understanding Spent Convictions: In Victoria, the Spent Convictions Scheme allows certain convictions to be “spent” or considered as not relevant for most purposes after a specified period. The scheme recognises that individuals who have demonstrated good behaviour and rehabilitation deserve a chance to move forward without the burden of their past convictions. It aims to promote reintegration into the community without the barriers to employment, housing, and other opportunities that are caused by a criminal record.
Legislation: The legislation governing spent convictions in Victoria is the Sentencing Act 1991 and the Spent Convictions Act 2021. These acts outline the provisions and guidelines related to spent convictions, including eligibility criteria, exclusions, and the application process.
Eligibility for Spent Convictions: Not all convictions are eligible for the spent convictions scheme. Eligibility depends on various factors, including the nature of the offense, the sentence imposed, and the waiting period. The legislation provides specific guidelines on eligibility criteria.
To determine your eligibility for a spent conviction, it is advisable to consult a qualified legal professional or seek advice from community legal services.
Applying for a Spent Conviction: If you believe you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply to have your conviction spent. The process involves the following steps:
- Gather Relevant Information: Collect all relevant documents, including details of the conviction, court orders, and any supporting evidence that demonstrates your rehabilitation and good behaviour since the conviction.
- Consult a Legal Professional: Seek advice from a qualified lawyer who specialises in criminal law or spent convictions matters. They can guide you through the process, assist with the application, and ensure that your rights are protected.
- Prepare the Application: Complete the application form. Include all required information, supporting documents, and any additional details that strengthen your case for the conviction to be spent.
- Submit the Application: Lodge the completed application form, along with the supporting documents. Ensure that you comply with any specific requirements or deadlines.
- Await Decision: The relevant authority will review your application and make a decision based on the eligibility criteria and supporting evidence provided. The processing time may vary, so it is important to be patient during this stage.
Seeking Legal Advice: Navigating the spent convictions process can be complex, and it is essential to seek legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances. Our lawyers can provide personalised guidance, ensure compliance with the legislation, and help maximize your chances of a successful spent conviction application.
Conclusion: Understanding the Victorian Spent Convictions Law is crucial for individuals seeking to move forward with a clean slate. Each case is unique, and seeking professional guidance is the best way to navigate the process effectively.
Note: This information serves as a general guide and should not be considered legal advice. For accurate and individual information, please book a consult with one of our specialist lawyers.
About the Directors:
Emma Turnbull is a passionate advocate for justice, equality, and empowerment. With her deep commitment to making a positive impact, she has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of individuals facing prosecution by the State and promoting social change.
“I firmly believe that each and every one of us has the power to create meaningful change. It starts by finding our voices, standing up for what is right, and ensuring that everyone, whether they have a five day or three month jury trial, receives a fair hearing. My goal is that win or lose, every client feels they have received a fair trial, with their voice heard and their best defence put forward.”
Adrian Lewin is a seasoned criminal lawyer renowned for his unwavering dedication to defending the rights of individuals facing legal challenges. With his extensive experience and expertise in criminal law, Adrian has successfully represented clients in a wide range of complex cases. Known for his strategic thinking and meticulous preparation, he tirelessly fights for justice, ensuring that every client receives the strongest possible defence.