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A little known nuance in the system meant my rehabilitation time was five times longer

Greg explains how a non-recordable offence kept his conviction unspent for longer

When I was 19 I got pulled over for speeding, and my new plates came up as unregistered, as I had a new private plate. I told the officer I had it registered already, and would email him later (the DVLA system lags to update). Truthfully I had no clue. So I asked the people who I bought my plate from to provide me with a plate registration document and make sure it was dated before today, and they did. I sent it to the officer, and since the date didn’t match with the DVLA, I was charged with altering a document with intent to deceive and not having valid plating. Ironically, later and in court, it came to be found that the plating was legally registered, but just not on the date of the certificate. My no plating charge was dropped. 

So I pleaded guilty to the speeding and altering charge with no contest, under ill advice from a duty solicitor that the ‘use of’ is the same as altering and I would only get a fine which would be spent in 12 months. So I thought, one year rehabilitation and I could move on with my life. I avoided applying for jobs for around a year, and made money as a self-employed trader while at university. Finally the day came when university finished. I had my degree and I applied to a role. I was surprised, two and a half years on, to see these charges on my DBS check clear as day!                            

I thought it must be there erroneously, but after avid research, which I should have done in the first place, I found out it wasn’t.  

Because of the penalty point disposal, which takes five years to become spent, both my offences will take five years to be spent 

Speeding is not even a recordable offence. Imagine my luck, a non-recordable offence making my other offence unspent. Now, if these offences were tried on different dates, speeding would not be on my record at all and the other offence would be spent. If I had dealt with the speeding via fixed penalty notice (I didn’t see the letter as I was at university) then my other offence would be spent. If I had only known about this unknown technicality. Maybe the magistrates may have considered different disposals. 

Coming to terms with this is hard, but I appreciate there are people in worse situations. I am a strong believer, no matter how ignorant of the law I was at 19, that everything happens for a reason. Maybe struggling to find employment for the next few years is destined for me to start a business instead? Who knows? I still have age on my side.  

More clear information is needed on how your sentence disposal can affect the time it takes things to become ‘spent’. I also believe The UK needs to adopt a case-by-case expungement process like the US. 


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