On this page

  • How to apply for a spent conviction order
  • Serious convictions eligible for a spent conviction order
  • What is the conviction period?
  • What the Magistrate considers when deciding your application
  • How to apply
  • After you apply

How to apply for a spent conviction order

If you have a serious conviction, your conviction may be spent by making an application to the Magistrates’ Court.

You will only need to apply for a spent conviction order for certain serious offences. In other cases, your conviction may be spent immediately or automatically after a ‘conviction period’ expires (External link).

To apply for a spent conviction order, you will need to complete the Application Form and file this with the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.

Apply now (External link)

Serious convictions eligible for a spent conviction order

Children and young people (at the time of sentencing)

You can make an application to the Magistrates’ Court if you were 15 years or older at the time of offending, but under 21 years old when you were sentenced for:

  • a serious violence offence or sexual offence, or
  • any other offence where you were sentenced to a youth justice centre order or youth residential centre order of more than 30 months.

You must have also completed a ‘conviction period’ of five years in which you have not re-offended (apart from some minor offences).

If you were under 15 at the time of offending, and have completed your sentence, your conviction has already been spent.

Adults (at the time of sentencing)

You can make an application to the Magistrates’ Court if you were an adult (21 years or older at the time of sentencing) and the court convicted you for:

  • a serious violence offence or sexual offence, but you were not given a prison sentence, or
  • any other offence where you were given a prison sentence of more than 30 months, but less than five years for the individual charge (not total effective sentence).

You must have also completed a ‘conviction period’ of 10 years in which you have not re-offended (apart from some minor offences).

There are some serious convictions that can never be spent. For example, if you were 21 years or older at the time of sentencing and:

  • the court ordered a prison sentence for a serious violence or sexual offence, or
  • for any other offence where the court ordered a prison sentence of more than 5 years.

You can also get more information on what serious convictions are

Applying for multiple convictions

You can apply for more than one conviction to be spent at a time. However, you must have completed the conviction period for each of the convictions in your application.

What is the conviction period?

The conviction period starts from the date you are found guilty by the court. It will usually restart if you reoffend during that time. Your conviction period will not restart if you get another conviction where:

  • no penalty is ordered
  • the court finds you guilty but makes the order ‘without conviction’
  • the only penalty is a fine of up to 10 penalty units
  • the only penalty is an order to pay a victim compensation (such as for pain and suffering) or restitution (such as to restore stolen property).

In any other circumstances, if you get another conviction, then the conviction period starts again from the date of that later conviction. You must wait for this period to complete before you can apply.

What the Magistrate considers when deciding your application

Under the Spent Convictions Act 2021 the Magistrates’ Court must consider the following factors in determining your application:

  • the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offence
  • the impact on any victim
  • your personal circumstances
  • your age and maturity when the offence was committed
  • any demonstrated rehabilitation
  • any risk to public safety of making a spent conviction order for the conviction
  • any other matter that the Magistrates’ Court considers relevant.

If you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, the Magistrates’ Court must consider any unique factors of background, including factors relating to:

  • incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons
  • impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons of disclosure of a criminal record.

How to apply

Documentation to support your application

Police check

You must obtain a National Police Check (External link) as part of your application. The National Police Check must be dated within six months of your application.

When completing the National Police Check request form:

  • for the purpose of the check/role/position you must specify ‘Spent Conviction Application Victoria’
  • for the name of the organisation requesting the check (sometimes listed as ‘Employer’ or similar), state ‘not applicable’
  • for the relevant state or territory, you must specify ‘Victoria’.

Supporting documents (optional)

You can also choose to include any supporting documents with your application.

This can include:

  • a personal statement to provide details about the offence, your circumstances, and your rehabilitation
  • supporting letters or character references from your employers, community organisations or referees
  • documents detailing any rehabilitation programs you have completed.

You should include everything you want the Magistrate to consider in your written application, as the Magistrate may decide your application without a hearing. If you apply for a spent convictions order and your application is refused, you will not be able to apply again for two years. It is important to take care in preparing your application and seek advice if you are unsure.

If you need help completing your application, you can seek legal support. A guardian can also complete this form on your behalf if you have one appointed to you.

If you are an Aboriginal Victorian, the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (External link) can help you complete your application. The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service can be contacted by:

Submit your application

Submit your completed application and attachments to any Magistrates’ Court, via email, post, or in person. There is no fee for submitting your application. A list of Magistrates' Court locations is available on their website (External link).

Once the Magistrates’ Court has received your application, they will send you a copy by email, this copy will have been sealed, meaning it is stamped by the court. 

You must email this copy to the Department of Justice and Community Safety at spentconvictionsapp@justice.vic.gov.au (External link) and to Victoria Police at spentconvictionsapp@police.vic.gov.au (External link)

After you apply

The Attorney-General and Chief Commissioner of Police will review your application and may make a submission. Submissions can involve providing any further information and documents about your application that they think could be relevant for the Magistrate to consider.

If either the Attorney-General or the Chief Commissioner of Police decide to make a submission, a hearing will be held in the court to determine whether a spent conviction order should be granted.

If there are no submissions made, the Magistrate can still hold a hearing, but they may make a decision without a hearing.

Hearings for a spent convictions order

If the Magistrate chooses to hold a hearing, you will have the opportunity to attend the hearing to present any relevant information in person. You may wish to seek legal advice or representation and you can bring someone to support you.

Hearings are usually closed to the public; however, the Magistrate can make the hearing open to the public if the circumstances of the case justify this.

If the Attorney-General and the Chief Commissioner of Police intend to make a submission, they will also be notified about the hearing. They may have Department of Justice and Community Safety or Victoria Police representatives attend the hearing to make submissions. For hearings closed to the public, the Court will determine who may be present at the hearing.

Usually, before a hearing the Magistrate will make directions about how it will be conducted.

You can also find out more information about preparing for a hearing (External link)

Outcome of your application

If there is a hearing, the Magistrate may inform you of the outcome of your application at the end of the hearing or the Magistrates’ Court will inform you of the outcome at a later date.

If there is no hearing, the Magistrates’ Court will contact you with the outcome of your application.

The Chief Commissioner of Police and the Attorney-General have 28 days to notify the Magistrates’ Court about whether they will make submissions for each application. The Magistrate will not make a decision before this time.

If you have not heard anything from the court after this 28-day period, you can contact the Magistrates’ Court to get an update regarding your application.

If you have not heard anything from the court after 6 weeks from submitting your application, it is recommended that you contact the Magistrates’ Court to get an update regarding your application.

If you are granted a spent conviction order

If your application is granted, this means your conviction will not appear on your police record check, except in special circumstances, and you do not have to tell anyone about it. This does not change the sentence or penalty for that conviction.

There are also laws in Victoria that protect you from being unlawfully discriminated against because of a spent conviction.

More information can be found at:

If your application is refused

If your application is refused, the conviction will continue to be disclosed on your criminal record.

You can reapply again once two years have passed since the Magistrates’ Court refused your application. If you reapply, you must provide new information to support your application. At this point you must also still meet the eligibility criteria, so any further offending may restart the conviction period.

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