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Expungement of your criminal record

Expungement of your criminal record

Most people living with a criminal record will be able to explain precisely how the smallest of criminal offences can have a big impact on your life.  All is however not lost.  You can apply to have the offence removed from your record and lead a normal, record-free life.

What does Expungement of a criminal record mean?

Expungement of a criminal record is a process by which a criminal record of a convicted offender is expunged (or removed) from the criminal record database of the Criminal Record Centre of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Although this service is rendered free of charge by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, it is often beneficial to your case to have an attorney assist you in completing and submitting your application.

Why would I want my criminal record Expunged?

Potential employers might not necessarily want a person with a criminal record on their premises where such a person might have access to privileged information or expensive equipment. An employer/employee relationship is based on trust and having a criminal record might place the employee in a bad light with the employer.

The expungement of one’s criminal record allows a person to carry on with life without a criminal record being an obstruction to their present or future employment and other opportunities.

A criminal record might also impact your insurance applications, travel plans and even disqualify you for immigrating.

Who qualifies to have their criminal records expunged?

You will qualify to have your record expunged if 10 years have passed since you were found guilty of the offence and if during this 10 year period you have not been convicted & sentenced for any other offence to a period of imprisonment without the option of a fine.  Your offence must further be listed in Section 271 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

Further circumstances where you would qualify for expungement will include circumstances where your fine did not exceed R20,000.00, if your sentence was postponed or you where cautioned and discharged, imprisonment with the option to pay a fine instead of serving a prison sentence; if imprisonment was wholly suspended and where you were sentenced to correctional supervision.

What other factors will disqualify a person from applying for expungement of a criminal record?

If your offence is based on a sexual transgression against a child or mentally challenged person or your name is included in the National Register for Sex Offenders or the National Child Protection Register, then you will not be able to apply for expungement.  You will however qualify if your name was removed from the National Register for Sex Offenders or the National Child Protection Register.

How long will it take to have my record expunged?

The process of expungement can take between 20 – 28 weeks.

By Rafi Weiner

His areas of expertise include Family, Aviation and Administrative Law where he is one of a few attorneys in Cape Town who represent outdoor advertising companies. He also has extensive experience in Commercial Litigation, where he specialises in Insolvency and Commercial Law. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the drafting and preparation of commercial agreements.