Skip navigation

Are you ready to complete a check online?

Receive the certificate in as little as 7 days

The Differences Between Spent and Unspent Convictions

Most job applications in Britain require a pre-employment check. If you are just looking for job experience and want more information, then you need a more comprehensive identity check.

A common screening procedure used for hiring is DBS Checks. These checks are also known as the CRB Screening and can help prospective employers determine whether someone’s convictions have or do not have any effect on the job he is looking to get.
In this article, we will speak about spent and unspent convictions.


Spent convictions vs Unspent convictions

Unspent convictions are terms used for criminal convictions that can be used in your recovery (determined based on your crime) and/or will be recorded. Examples are convictions which lead to imprisonment of over two and a half years or entail violent or sexual crimes. It must be classified for a reason. Because employers want to ensure that workers work in a safe environment, any unspent convictions are shown at DBS checks.

A jail time sentence is a crime that was committed and was fully recovered. Spent convictions are kept in your criminal history and on the PNC of the Police. These are also included in DBS tests. Under the Rehabilitation Offfenders Act 1974, employment is unlawful for employees based on spent convictions.


How do I know if my convictions are unspent?

If someone has been convicted of felony offenses during rehabilitation they cannot pay their sentence. All sentences over 2 1/2 years will be kept indefinitely. During the specific time frame your conviction will be deemed “spent.”


How long do unspent convictions last UK?

The first thing to look at is what, exactly, gets removed from a criminal record, because not everything does. Certain convictions and cautions may remain on your record for longer than others, or even permanently.

Whether a criminal conviction remains on your record or not depends on the specifics of the crime, such as the severity of it, how much time has been served (whether the conviction is spent or not), and the person’s age when the crime was committed.

If the person was 18 years of age or older at the time of the offense (i.e. legally considered to be an adult), then the conviction will be expunged from their record 11 years after the conviction date (not the offense date).

Other criteria for convictions to not appear or be removed from a criminal record include:

  • No prison sentence was given for the offense
  • The person has maintained a clean record since the initial offense
  • The crime was not severe enough to be considered a safeguarding issue.

If the person was convicted of a crime before the age of 18 years old, they are considered to be a minor in the eyes of the law. This means that the time for the conviction to be removed from the criminal record is reduced from 11 years to 5 and a half years, as long as there was no prison sentence, the crime is not safeguarding related, and the person has kept a clean record ever since.


Do I have to declare an unspent conviction?

It is not sufficient for a person’s unsatisfactory conviction. In the case of convictions, you won’t have to report it unless asked by the insurance company. You might ask questions to see if someone is guilty of a crime and if the insurance company covers you.


Do unspent convictions show on basic DBS?

How much information can be found on a DBS certificate? A basic check may include detailed details about the conviction and conditional cautions deemed ‘unpaid’ by the Rehabilitation Act 1974.


Find out how much is a DBS Check in 2023


Get an online DBS check

If you want to provide an employer with a DBS check certificate, you can always apply for a basic DBS check yourself online. It’s easy and quick to apply through our dedicated DBS check portal. We also have trained account managers on hand to help you with any issues.

To find out more about DBS checks and criminal records, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

Are you ready to complete a check online?

Receive the certificate in as little as 7 days

More Articles

Accredited By

Speak To An Advisor 0333 880 5843