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Communtity Law Manual | Criminal Courts | The clean slate scheme

The clean slate scheme

Overview

What is the clean slate scheme?

Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004, ss 6, 14

The clean slate scheme allows some people the right, in some circumstances, to withhold information about their criminal convictions. It means that when an eligible person is asked about their criminal record, they can say they have no criminal record.

When is the clean slate scheme available?

Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004, s 7

To qualify for the clean slate scheme, you must meet all of the following conditions. You must have:

  • no convictions within the last seven years
  • never been sentenced to a custodial sentence (for example, imprisonment)
  • never been ordered by a court, following a criminal case, to be detained in a hospital due to your mental condition, instead of being sentenced
  • never been convicted of a “specified offence” (for example, sexual offending against children and young people or the mentally impaired)
  • paid in full any fine, reparation or costs ordered by the court in a criminal case
  • never been indefinitely disqualified from driving under section 65 of the Land Transport Act 1998 or any earlier equivalent provision.

What must be done for the clean slate scheme to apply?

The clean slate scheme is automatic. This means it is not necessary to apply for a clean slate. The protection by a clean slate automatically lapses as soon as you re-offend. Rather than cleaning the slate, the scheme simply conceals the slate while the above conditions apply.

Are there any exceptions to the coverage of the clean slate scheme?

Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004, ss 14, 19

In some situations the clean slate scheme doesn’t apply, even though you meet the conditions for the scheme (see above).

You’re not entitled to conceal your criminal record, and government agencies can disclose your criminal record, if for example –

  • you’re applying for certain kinds of jobs, including with the police, or as a as a prison or probation officer, or in a role involving the care and protection of children, or
  • the information is necessary for the police or other law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute further offences that you’ve committed
  • your criminal record is relevant in any court proceedings, whether criminal or civil
  • you’re dealing with the law of another country. This means, for example, that if you’re asked, you must disclose your criminal record when you apply for a visa to enter another country.
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