Understand your criminal record

When you have finished your out of court disposal, order or sentence, it will stay on your record.

Having a criminal record can sometimes impact your future career aspirations. It is important you know what is on your criminal record, so you know what to tell employers, insurers and housing providers.

For some jobs an employer may check a criminal record, this is a Disclosure and Barring Service check or DBS check.

Unspent convictions

An 'unspent' conviction means it has not yet finished, and the rehabilitation period is not complete. The rehabilitation period is a specific period of time set when you get your sentence. How long this period lasts depends on your sentence.

If your convictions remain unspent you have to include them when asked, for example when applying for a job.

Find out more about rehabilitation periods on the Unlock website.

Spent convictions

Your conviction is 'spent' after the rehabilitation period has finished and all compensation has been paid. Depending on the offence, you may not have to declare your spent conviction when you are applying for a job, education or insurance, but it is always best to check.

The offence being spent does not mean it is removed from your criminal record and may still be disclosed on a DBS check.

Check your criminal record

Unlock, a charity for people with convictions, has an calculator to check if your conviction is spent or not. To use the calculator go to the Unlock website.

You can also speak to your youth justice practitioner for advice about convictions and information about spent convictions.

There is also information about what you need to tell an employer, university or college on the GOV.UK website.