It is important to know the difference between spent and unspent convictions in order to give the correct information if you are ever asked by an employer in case of a DBS/CRB check being carried out.

 What is the difference between spent and unspent?

The difference between a spent and unspent conviction is based on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, this is based on the sentence you would receive by a Judge or Magistrate in court, For example a conviction resulting in a fine would not become spent until 1 year has lapsed from the date you were convicted, not the date the offence was committed.


For any Spent Conviction

  • For job roles were only a Basic disclosure is required for example working in retail/wholesale etc you do not need to disclose spent convictions to an employer
  • They will not be disclosed on a basic criminal record check.
  • For some jobs you will need to disclose them if asked – these jobs will usually involve a standard or enhanced criminal record check. You only need to disclose this information if the conviction is not currently filtered (removed from a DBS/CRB check) in line with current Government guidance.
  • They will still be disclosed on standard and enhanced criminal record checks (unless filtered)
  • You might need to disclose them when travelling or working outside of the UK
SENTENCE Rehab Period age under 18 when convicted Rehab Period age 18 or over when convicted
Prison sentence over 4 years  Never Spent  Never Spent 
Prison sentence of 2 ½ years to 4 years  Sentence + 3 ½ Years  Sentence + 7 Years 
Prison sentences of more than 6 months to 2 ½ years Sentence + 2 Years Sentence + 4 Years
Prison sentences of 6 months or less Sentence + 18 Months  Sentence + 2 years
Community Service Order (Probation) 6 Months 1 Year
Fines 6 months 1 year
Absolute Discharge Spent immediately Spent immediately

For any Unspent Convictions

  • If asked by an employer, you have to disclose them,
  • They will be disclosed on all types of criminal record disclosure (basic, standard and enhanced).
  • You could be prosecuted if you fail to disclose unspent convictions when asked.

What is Filtering of convictions? 

Filtering of convictions is the removal of offences off a DBS/CRB certificate.

In line with current guidance convictions are now filtered if:

Over 18 at the time of conviction:

  • It was more than 11 years ago
  • It is the only conviction on file
  • It did not result in a prison sentence
  • The conviction is not of a serious, violent or sexual nature.

Under 18 at the time of conviction:

  • It was more than 5 years ago
  • It did not result in a prison sentence
  • It is the only conviction on file
  • It is not on the list of serious violent and sexual offences


For further advice on the information discussed in this blog on filtering of convictions or the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, call our friendly team of specialists today on 01942 609365 or follow the link below: