There can be few people who welcome the addition of a criminal record to their CV. However, in the UK having a criminal record is surprisingly common. By the age of 53, 9% of women and 33% of men will have a criminal conviction to their name. Possible shame and regret aside, what are the implications of this?
1. Does a Conviction Affect Travel Plans?
Yes, it can. Currently, travel within the EU is unrestricted as UK citizens do not require a visa, although this may change after Brexit. Entry to countries like the US and Australia can be more difficult because entry visas are often refused on grounds of a criminal record.
2. How Does a Conviction Affect Employment and Education Prospects?
Some employers, such as Timpsons, actively recruit ex-offenders. Several large City firms are also known to offer work experience, which may lead to permanent employment, to this group. Other employers may be less helpful. However, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA) bars discrimination against anyone with a spent conviction, other than in particular circumstances. As regards education, some further and higher education providers ask applicants to disclose any criminal record.
3. How Does a Conviction Become “Spent”?
This depends on the conviction. Under ROA, most convictions that resulted in a prison sentence of four years or less will become spent after a certain period of time. There are exceptions to this principle, which mostly apply to individuals applying for certain jobs, such as with children or vulnerable adults, when a criminal records check undertaken by an organisation such as http://www.carecheck.co.uk with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) will reveal spent convictions.
4. Are There Other Ways in Which a Conviction Might Not Appear on a DBS Check?
A single offence, committed a long time ago, which resulted in neither a prison sentence nor a suspended sentence, may be filtered from appearing on a DBS check. There are exemptions, so expert advice may need to be sought. The government’s own guide to the filtering of offences is a good place to start.
5. Are Insurance Premiums Affected?
This is possible. Insurance companies often charge higher premiums to anyone with an unspent conviction, even if that conviction is entirely unrelated to the insurance product. Failing to declare an unspent conviction risks invalidating the insurance.