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Criminal & traffic law

The clean slate scheme


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. This scheme doesn’t completely delete the information (“wipe the slate clean”), but simply allows information to be withheld as if you had no criminal convictions.

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 prison sentence
  • never been ordered by a court, following a criminal case, to be held 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. But if you re-offend, the clean slate protection no longer applies and the earlier offending has to be disclosed.

When doesn’t the clean slate scheme apply?

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 prison or probation officer, or in a role involving the care and protection of children
  • 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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The criminal courts

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Access the free “Lag Law: Your Rights Inside Prison and on Remand” book. This book answers heaps of common questions you might have if you’re going to prison, in prison, or getting out of prison.

Online: communitylaw.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Lag-Law-text-2021-1.pdf
Email for a hard copy: publications@wclc.org.nz
Phone: Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley – 04 499 2928

Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice provides useful information about court procedure for criminal matters.

Website: www.justice.govt.nz/courts/criminal

Paying your fines

You can learn about, check or pay your fines (infringement and court-imposed) by phone or online. Unpaid fines can stop you leaving New Zealand – use Ministry of Justice’s fine checks form to find out if you have outstanding debt.

Website: www.justice.govt.nz/fines
Phone: 0800 4 FINES (0800 434 637)

Fine checks form: www.justice.govt.nz/fines/find-out-if-you-have-a-fine-or-check-your-balance-online/fines-check-form

Department of Corrections

The Department of Corrections website has helpful information for offenders and their whānau. It provides insight into the procedure before sentencing, while in prison and on parole.

Website: www.corrections.govt.nz

Restorative Practices Aotearoa

Restorative Practices Aotearoa provides information on when restorative justice may be appropriate, and where in New Zealand it is available.

Website: www.restorativejusticeaotearoa.org.nz
Email: admin@rpa.org.nz
Phone: 0800 RJA INC (0800 752 462)

Information for victims

Victims Information

Victims Information provides help to victims of crime, their whānau or friends to deal with the practical and emotional effects of a crime. It also provides information to help victims understand the legal and court process.

Website: www.victimsinfo.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 650 654

Manaaki Tāngata – Victim Support

Victim Support provides a free, nationwide support service for people affected by crime, trauma, and suicide in New Zealand. They help clients to find safety, healing, and justice after crime and other traumatic events.

Website: www.victimsupport.org.nz
Phone: 0800 VICTIM (0800 842 846)

Victim notifications register

Victim notification gives victims of serious crime, who are registered on the victim notification register, a way to stay informed about the person who offended against them.

Website: www.corrections.govt.nz/information_for_victims/victim_notification_register

Also available as a book

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