Spent convictions

Introduction

If you have completed your sentence following a criminal conviction you should be reintegrated into society. However, in certain situations you may need to disclose your criminal convictions. For example, when applying for certain licenses or jobs.

If you have a criminal conviction you may be unable to:

  • Enter certain professions such as law or medicine
  • Get a licence such as PSV (public service vehicle) licence, driver’s licence or a firearms licence
  • Get insurance cover

The consequences may be even more serious if you do not disclose the conviction and it comes to light at a later date.

However, there are some situations where certain offences can be removed from the record, or may not have to be disclosed after a period of time. Under the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016, a range of minor offences become spent after 7 years. This means that an adult convicted of an offence covered by the Act does not have to disclose the conviction after 7 years, except in certain circumstances.

Spent conviction offences

The following convictions become spent after 7 years as long as you have complied with the sentence or order imposed:

  • All convictions in the District Court for motoring offences except for convictions for dangerous driving which are limited to a single conviction
  • All convictions in the District Court for minor public order offences
  • A single conviction (other than a motoring or public order offence) in the District Court which resulted in a term of prison term of 12 months or less (or a fine)

The Act does not apply to any conviction for a sexual offence or an offence which was tried in the Central Criminal Court. These offences cannot become spent convictions.

Disclosing a spent conviction

In general, you do not have to disclose a spent conviction when supplying information on past convictions.

You must disclose spent convictions in the following situations:

  • In a Garda interview following your arrest in connection with the investigation of an offence
  • When applying to enter, or remain in the State
  • When applying for Irish citizenship
  • In an application or during an investigation under Part 3 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010
  • In court proceedings in the circumstances set out in Section 7 of the Act
  • On any insurance or assurance proposal or form, if you have been convicted of fraud, deceit or dishonesty when making a claim
  • Applying for certain types of licences. These licences include public service vehicle, private security, taxi and firearms licences

The Irish spent convictions legislation cannot be used if you are required to disclose information about your criminal convictions to another state. You are subject to that country’s laws and may have to disclose such convictions.

Employment

In general, you do not have to disclose a spent conviction when you are looking for employment. However, you have to disclose any spent convictions if you are applying to work for certain bodies, such as:

  • The Garda Síochána
  • The Courts Service
  • Some Government departments

The list of bodies that you must disclose spent convictions to is given in Schedule 2 of the Act.

The non-disclosure regime under the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016 does not apply to employment relating to children or vulnerable adults. However, applicants for these roles must be Garda vetted and has its own non-disclosure regime.

Accessing criminal records held by the Gardaí

If you request a copy of your criminal record from the Garda Síochána, the record will be provided in 2 parts, with the spent convictions provided separately from the other convictions (if any). This means that you will be able to provide a clean record if your convictions are spent.

Page edited: 21 May 2022