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When Is A Conviction Considered Spent

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patbhoy | 14:23 Sun 22nd May 2016 | Criminal
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I was recently found guilty of assault and would like to know when the conviction is considered spent (Scots Law).

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Unusually, Scotland is behind England in changing the law. (In most legal matters, Scotland leads and England follows). So the provisions of Section 139 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, which reduced the 'rehabilitation periods' in England, don't apply in Scotland. So you need to refer to the tables here (to look for the...
14:54 Sun 22nd May 2016
Unusually, Scotland is behind England in changing the law. (In most legal matters, Scotland leads and England follows). So the provisions of Section 139 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, which reduced the 'rehabilitation periods' in England, don't apply in Scotland.

So you need to refer to the tables here (to look for the relevant sentence) and note the rehabilitation period shown in the LEFT-hand column. (In England it's the right-hand column that now applies):
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/reforms-to-help-reduce-reoffending-come-into-force

The Scottish Government announced a year ago that they'd be introducing similar reforms
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11611077/Slate-wiped-clean-for-more-Scottish-criminals.html
but, unless I've missed it (and Google can't find it), those reforms haven't yet been enacted.

Remember also that when applying for certain types of employment (e.g. working with children or vulnerable adults), convictions never become spent and must always be disclosed. (Just to confuse matters further though, in England a single conviction can, in certain circumstances, become 'protected' and therefore not required to be disclosed, after a certain period of time. It's likely that Scotland will also follow suit).

Further, unless they've got their own legislation regarding 'spent' convictions, a UK conviction can never become spent when the rules of another country apply. So, for example, you will always be ineligible to travel visa-free to the USA; if you want to go there you will have to apply for a visa and attend an interview at the US Embassy in London. (The US Consulate in Edinburgh doesn't deal with visa matters).
One more thing to note:
Irrespective of whether it's the 'old' (Scottish) rules that apply or the 'new' (English) ones, a conviction can never become spent if the offender has another unspent conviction. So if you were convicted of another offence a day before your first conviction was due to become spent, that first conviction would continue to remain 'unspent' until your second conviction became 'spent'.
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Having looked at the tables it looks like it will be considered spent after a period of 1yr from the date of conviction.
I did not get a custodial sentence and only received a fine.
Sorry, but as I wrote above, it's still the LEFT HAND column that applies in Scotland, meaning that the rehabilitation period there is currently FIVE years. However it's likely that the law will be changed soon, meaning that the one-year rehabilitation period (which already applies in England) will then come into effect.

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