Will a Criminal Conviction Stop Me Getting a Job?
According to the latest government statistics, 1 in 6 UK citizens has some form of a criminal record. Most of them are for low-level offenses such as failure to pay parking tickets. Nonetheless, their presence often haunts job seekers and even prevents some people looking for work out of fear their less than angelic past will come back to haunt them. But are their fears well-founded? Will a criminal conviction stop you from getting a job?
Spent Vs Unspent Convictions
When it comes to determining whether or not a conviction will appear on a criminal record check, it is important to first determine if the conviction is spent or unspent.
The passage of time heals many things. It can even clear your record of certain past criminal convictions. That’s right. Once a set amount of time passes, certain convictions are considered “spent” and will be removed from your criminal record. This means that in many instances these blots on your reputation will not appear on a criminal background check.
Exactly how long it takes for a conviction to be considered spent depends on the severity of the crime and the length of the sentence. Here is a rough guide to the current rehabilitation times for various sentences:
- Fines Only – 1 year after the imposition of the fine the conviction will be considered spent.
- Community Orders – Those sentenced to some form of community order will see their conviction spent 1 year after the end of the order.
- Sentences up to 6 Months – For those sentenced to as much as 6 months in prison, the conviction is considered spent 2 years after the end of the sentence.
- Sentences from 6 to 30 Months – Those sentenced to between 6 and 30 months of prison time will see those convictions spent 4 years after the end of the sentence.
- Sentences from 30 Months to 4 Years – 7 years after the completion of the sentence it will be considered spent.
Once considered spent, a criminal conviction will not appear on a basic DBS background check. However, they will still appear on a “standard” or “enhanced” DBS check unless they are eligible to be filtered from those checks. Standard and enhanced checks are typically reserved for those working with children or vulnerable adults. Or those seeking positions in “responsible” trades such as law or accountancy.
There is not much to say in this regard. If you have unspent convictions, you are legally compelled to disclose them when seeking employment and they will appear on every level of DBS check.
Some job seekers choose not to tell their prospective employers about their unspent convictions. The hope seems to be that those convictions will somehow slip through the cracks. Rest assured they will not.
Will a Conviction be Held Against You?
That depends primarily on the nature of your crime. In addition, if you were convicted of something related to the job you are applying for – say you have a drink-driving conviction and are applying for a job as a lorry driver – it may well be held against you.
The Bottom Line
In cases where criminal convictions spent or unspent are bound to come to the fore, it is always best to be candid with prospective employers. Discuss the matter in a way that indicates you have learned from your youthful indiscretions and have moved on with your life. It will not guarantee employment, but it will likely increase your chances.
If you require a DBS check for any reason, get in touch with The Check People today. We’ll help you navigate this often confusing process and make sure you receive every protection legally afforded to you.