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Criminal Record(s): Having it Expunged

- Featured article by LAWYERS-ONLINE.CO.ZA - April 2019

Are offenders able to carry on with their lives without a criminal record being an impediment to employment opportunities?

The expungement of a criminal record refers to a process whereby a person can have his/her criminal record expunged from the national criminal register.

Expungement of a criminal record came as a result of an Amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act which came into operation in May 2009.

For an individual to have their criminal record expunged, the following requirements need to be met: the conviction should be ten (10) years old; or had received a fine of less than R 20 000 for the offence committed.

A person should not have been sent to prison for another (or any other) offence o ver a period of ten (10) years.

If an offence is of a sexual nature and a child was involved, the perpetrator’s name will be included in the National Register for Sexual Offender (NRSO). If the victim was a disabled person, this will automatically disqualify a person from having their criminal record expunged.

The procedure involves the applicant obtaining a clearance certificate from the South African Police Services (SAPS), completing a prescribed form (which is available on the Department of Justice a nd Constitutional Development’s website and all magistrates’ offices).

The clearance certificate must be attached to the application form and be posted or faxed to the department for processing.

The matter will be finalised within four (4) months, provide d that the application is received with all the relevant information .

There has been a steady increase in applicatio ns since the inception in 2009. The aim of the expungement is to ensure a just society and to re - integrate offenders into the community, especially those seeking employment.

Date: 8th November 2013
Legislation: Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act 51 of 1997)

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