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Our mission is to support & advocate for people with criminal records to be able to move on positively in their lives. Find out more

Absolute discharge

This is part of our information section on understanding your criminal record. Details of other sentences/disposals can be found here.

Who is it issued by and how can I contact them?

Issued by the court – contact the relevant court.

Does it involve guilt?

Yes – it is passed when the court finds you guilty but does not think that any further action is required. You may still have to pay compensation, prosecution costs or be disqualified from driving.

Is it recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC)?


Is it classed as a conviction?

No. However, for the purposes of filtering, it will be dealt with as a conviction.

How long will it be on my record?

It will remain on the PNC indefinitely and can still be mentioned in future criminal proceedings even after it has become spent.

When does it become spent?


When do I have to declare it?

You do not have to declare it after it is spent. Before it is spent you do need to declare it, when asked, to employers, insurers and for some other financial checks.

Is it disclosed on DBS checks?

Yes, it will be disclosed by both the standard and enhanced checks, unless it is eligible to be filtered. A basic check only discloses unspent convictions.


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Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

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