The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act is meant to support the rehabilitation into employment of reformed offenders who have stayed on the right side of the law. After a specified period of time (varying according to the way in which a matter was disposed of) all cautions and convictions (unless a prison sentence of over 30 months was ordered) are regarded as “spent” and the offender is regarded as “rehabilitated”. A conviction etc would only become spent if no other offence is committed during the relevant period. Note that the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 has put on a Statutory basis limitations on the ability to offer a caution to some people and also in respect of some offending.

This should mean that for most purposes a rehabilitated person is treated as if he/she had never committed the offence and generally they are not therefore obliged to declare their caution or conviction when applying for employment or insurance.

Note there are exceptions to the general rule about having to reveal/admit the existence of a caution or conviction even though it is spent. The exceptions to the rule have to be spelled out to you at the time you are asked the question.

Some of the periods set down in the Act are:

  • simple cautions, reprimands and warnings become spent immediately.
  • A conditional caution would become spent after 3 months.
  • A fine will become spent after 5 years
  • Fixed Penalty Notices and Penalty Notices for Disorder do not form part of a person’s criminal record as there is no admission of guilt connected with these and they therefore do not need to be covered by the Act.

If during the period when a caution or conviction is not spent you are convicted of an either way or an indictable offence then the rehabilitation period for both matters will not expire until the fresh conviction becomes spent. If your later conviction results in a sentence of more than 2 ½ years then neither of the convictions will become spent.

Rehabilitation following conviction is one thing. The police like to keep records that they will disclose on a DBS request where you have not committed an offence and they know it. What to do?

Contact Dennis Clarke to discuss problem and satisfy yourself that we can offer the skill and service that you need. In normal office hours ring Dennis Clarke on 01732 360999.

Clarke Kiernan, Rehabilitation Issues solicitors,
1 Lamberts Yard, Tonbridge, TN9 1ER
Phone: 01732360999, Fax : 01732353835, email: dennis clarkeMap