ATP Template with bundler

Previous convictions


No, by agreeing to have a Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) and paying the fine you will not receive a criminal conviction. Accepting and paying the fine is not an admission of guilt but discharges the possibility of the creation of a criminal record.

The fact that you have been given a PND will be recorded on the Police National Computer, but it will not create a criminal record. The information is recorded for administrative purposes and to establish if a person has had more than one PND.

If a criminal records check is carried out it does not automatically mean that the PND would be disclosed. However, it could be referred to if the behaviour that led to the PND was linked with the reason for the check.


A caution is a formal warning that is given to a person who has admitted the offence. If the person refuses the caution, then they will normally be prosecuted through the normal channels for the offence. Although it is not technically classed as a conviction (as only the Courts can convict someone) it can be taken into consideration by the Courts if the person is convicted of a further offence.

Cautions are covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and become spent immediately (apart from conditional cautions which will become spent after 3 months). Unless applying for particular types of work (see below), a person who has spent cautions does not have to disclose them to prospective employers and employers cannot refuse to employ someone on the basis of spent cautions.

However, when applying for particular types of employment, for example, working with children or vulnerable adults, certain professions such as law, health care and pharmacy, senior management posts within certain sectors and employment where matters of national security are involved, the application form will state that it is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. In these situations, you may need need to disclose your caution and it may be disclosed on your DBS criminal records check. See Q89 for further guidance on whether your caution will be disclosed.

Cautions will always remain on a person's record. There are only exceptional circumstances when a caution could be removed from a person's record and it is anticipated that such incidents will be rare. Examples of such possible circumstances are that it was found that the original arrest or sample was unlawful or where it was found beyond all doubt that no offence existed. Any requests that fit the above criteria should be directed to ACRO Criminal Records Office. Please see the link in the Related Information for further details.


The USA have a visa waiver programme for any person holding passports from certain countries (United Kingdom passports are included) as long as that person has never been arrested and/or convicted.

If you have been arrested, you must declare it whether or not that arrest resulted in a conviction. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not extend to the USA so you must declare all convictions regardless of whether they are classed as spent or not.

Most minor road traffic offences that were dealt with by way of fixed penalty (i.e. no arrest or court appearance) do not count and you will be eligible to travel under the visa waiver programme.

If you have been arrested/convicted, then you must apply for a visa from the US Embassy in London before you travel to the USA. Failure to have a visa means that you could be refused entry and returned home at your own expense. Have a look at the Visa Waiver Wizard (first link in Related Information) which only takes a minute to complete - it is just a guide for your own information, you do not have to enter personal details.

A conviction could mean that you are classed as permanently ineligible to travel to the USA, however, you may be able to apply for a waiver of permanent ineligibility from the Department of Homeland Security. This is not automatic and depends on several factors depending on the nature of the crime and when it was committed.

If you are unsure it is always better to check as you could be refused entry to the USA. In the current climate, it is highly likely that the USA authorities will be aware of your personal details before you travel to the USA.

Also, see the website in Related Information for more details.


A Community Resolution is a method of restorative justice and is an alternative way of dealing with less serious crimes and incidents, allowing officers to use their professional judgement when dealing with offenders. It can be used for offences such as low-level public order, criminal damage, theft, and minor assaults, where the victim has agreed that they do not want the police to take formal action.

The use of Community Resolution will enable victims to have quick resolutions and closure to their crime, offenders will receive speedy justice and there will be reduced bureaucracy for police officers. Examples of a Community resolution could include a simple apology, an offer of compensation or a promise to clear up any graffiti or criminal damage.

Community Resolutions do not constitute a criminal record and are not currently recorded on the Police National Computer. They are however recorded locally on police information systems and can be accessed for intelligence purposes. A previous Community Resolution will be taken into consideration if further offences are committed.

Community Resolutions are not disclosed as part of a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) standard check. They might, however, be disclosed as part of an enhanced check for certain offences in the 'relevant information' section, i.e. the offence has a bearing on the kind of work you are applying for.


The Data Protection Act 2018 provides that individuals have the 'right to rectification or erasure' of inaccurate or incomplete 'personal data' that is held by any organisation about them. If you become aware that the police hold personal data about you on their systems that is inaccurate, then you can make a request for them to rectify or erase the information. You can make your request by telephone, email or write to them. The police will then consider and action your request and respond within one month. They may ask you to provide documents to prove your identity. If so, the one month will start from the date they have confirmed your identity.


The table below provides details of when a conviction will become spent. Please note that the sentence length includes any time spent on licence. Q89 provides further information on cautions and convictions.

Some convictions will never become spent and others don't require a rehabilitation period at all. Those that will never become spent include -

(a) a sentence of preventive detention;
(b) a sentence of detention during Her Majesty's pleasure or for life, a sentence of detention for a term exceeding thirty months;
(c) a sentence of custody for life; and
(d) a sentence of imprisonment for public protection.

Those that don't require a rehabilitation period (therefore the period of time until it becomes spent will be nil), include -

(a) an order discharging a person absolutely for an offence,
(b) any other sentence in respect of a conviction where the sentence is not dealt with in the table below.

Sentence   Rehabilitation Period  
    Adult (18+) at conviction / disposal Young person (under 18 ) at conviction/disposal
Prison (including suspended prison sentences) Over 4 years or a public protection sentence Never spent Never spent
  More than 30 months and less than (or equal to) 4 years Length of sentence + 7 years Length of sentence + 3 and a half years
  More than 6 months and less than (or equal to) 30 months Length of sentence + 4 years Length of sentence + 2 years
  Less than (or equal to) 6 months Length of sentence + 2 years Length of sentence + 18 months
Community order/youth rehabilitation order   Length of sentence + 1 year Length of sentence + 6 months
A compensation order   The date when the payment is made in full The date when the payment is made in full
A relevant order   The date provided as the last day on which the order is to have effect The date provided as the last day on which the order is to have effect
A fine   12 months 6 months
Removal from Her Majesty's service   12 months 6 months
Caution, reprimand or warning   None required None required
A sentence of service detention   12 months 6 months

Contact your local police force

Enter your town or postcode to see information from your local force

If you can't find the answer?

Submit A Question