If a person is being sentenced in the WA Magistrates Court, he or she may request that the Magistrate grant a Spent Conviction Order (SCO).
The Magistrate may grant a SCO if satisfied that:
- the person is unlikely to commit an offence again; and
- the offence is minor and fairly trivial; or
- the person is of previous good character.
In an SCO is granted it means that the person will not always be required to disclose the conviction to others. However, note that the Court has a discretion in these matters and there is no guarantee that a SCO will be granted.
The main benefit of a SCO is that the recipient will generally not have to disclose or acknowledge the conviction for employment purposes. It is unlawful for employers, contractors, professional or trade organisations and licensing boards to discriminate against a person because of a SCO. However, there are some exceptions where a SCO in an employment setting will still be disclosable. For example, if applying for employment as a police officer, prison officer or teacher (amongst others).There are also other situations where a person may still have to disclose an SCO, such as when applying for a firearms licence or to be a foster parent.
If the person is self-represented in court, he or she will need to ask the Magistrate for a SCO before sentence is passed. If they have a lawyer, the lawyer can do this on the person’s behalf, but an such application should always be discussed beforehand as a lawyer may have an informed view as to whether it is worth asking for an SCO or not under the circumstances.
Finally, if you have read this far and think that you need some practical advice or assistance in relation to your matter, then now is probably the time to get in touch. Austral Legal can help and we offer an initial discounted 30-minute SmartMove appointment for $80 by phone or in person at our office. Bookings can be made online through our website or simply by phoning our office on 08 9745 9550. Once we have a handle on what is required, we may well be able to offer a fixed fee for any further legal services, giving you cost certainty from the start. Austral Legal. Practical advice.