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Will my conviction for a motoring offence show up on a criminal record check?

March 6, 2018 by in category News with 8 and 1
Home > News > News > Will my conviction for a motoring offence show up on a criminal record check?

One of the primary concerns for clients facing conviction of a motoring offence is whether that conviction could have a negative impact on current or future employability. Some motoring offences such as drink driving also have a “taboo” attached to them and concerns often centre on whether potential employers could be notified of the conviction via a criminal record check. Whether a conviction will be revealed by a criminal record check depends on a number of factors such as whether an offence is recordable or non-recordable or whether you were convicted of a combination of offences at the same time.

Recordable Offences

A recordable offence is one for which the police are required to keep a record on the police national computer system (or PNC). It is these offences that will be revealed by a criminal record check. They cover a range of criminal offences and different imprisonable and non-imprisonable offences, for example the driving offence of taxi touting is a non-imprisonable offence but it will still show on the PNC. Generally, if the offence could result in imprisonment, it will be classed as a recordable offence.

A list of specific recordable offences can be found here.

Examples of recordable driving offences include driving with excess alcohol (drink driving) and failing to provide a specimen.

Non-recordable Offences

The police do not have the power to take or retain the DNA or fingerprints of an individual arrested for an offence which is non-recordable.

Examples of non-recordable driving offences include careless driving and driving without insurance. A non-recordable offence is one that doesn’t carry risk of a custodial sentence.

Note: Driving with no insurance will become recordable if you are convicted of a recordable offence alongside this offence.

What does this mean?

If you are convicted of a non-recordable offence it is unlikely to be recorded on the police national computer unless the conviction is alongside a recordable offence.

What does ‘spent’ mean?

Once a conviction has been ‘spent’ it means it no longer needs to be declared. The amount of time it takes for a conviction to be spent depends on the sentence imposed, not the offence itself. For most motoring offences, the offence will become spent after 5 years but for any sentence where custody was imposed, this will be extended to a minimum of 7 years depending on the length of the sentence.

Sentence/disposalRehabilitation period for adults (18 or over at the time of conviction or the time the disposal is administered)Rehabilitation period for young people (under 18 at the time of conviction or the time the disposal is administered)
Imprisonment or detention in a young offender institution for over 30 months (2 ½ years)Never spentNever spent
Imprisonment or detention in a young offender institution over 6 months but not exceeding 30 months (2 ½ years)10 years5 years
Imprisonment up to 6 months7 years3 ½ years
Fine5 years2 ½ years
Community Sentence5 years2 ½ years
Conditional dischargeThe period of the order, or a minimum of 12 months (whichever is longer)The period of the order, or a minimum of 12 months (whichever is longer)
Absolute Discharge6 months6 months
Conditional Caution3 months3 months
Simple Caution, Reprimand, Final WarningSpent immediatelySpent immediately
Some sentences carry variable rehabilitation periods. The main ones are as follows:
Compensation OrderOn the discharge of the order (i.e. when it is paid in full)On the discharge of the order (i.e. when it is paid in full)
Supervision OrderN/AThe period of the order, or a minimum of 12 months (whichever is longer)
Bind OverThe period of the order, or a minimum of 12 months (whichever is longer)The period of the order, or a minimum of 12 months (whichever is longer)
Attendance Centre OrderA period ending one year after the order expiresA period ending one year after the order expires
Hospital OrderFive years, or a period ending two years after the order expires (whichever is longer)Five years, or a period ending two years after the order expires (whichever is longer)

Some occupations require all convictions to be declared whether they are spent or not. The following are examples of the activities requiring full disclosure:

  • Working with children or people in a vulnerable position;
  • Healthcare professionals;
  • Law enforcement and the legal system;
  • Firearms licences; and
  • Taxi licences.


Some offences are eligible for “filtering” from a DBS certificate so they may no longer have to be declared.

The process of filtering applies to most driving offences which are serious enough to be shown on a DBS check. Filtering means that after a certain period, and depending on how old the person was when the conviction was received, the conviction drops off the record and there is no longer a requirement for it to be declared. This filtering process doesn’t apply to the most serious offences, for example causing death by dangerous driving.

If you were over the age of 18 at the time of the offence, a conviction will automatically be removed from a DBS certificate if 11 years have elapsed since the date of the conviction, it is your only offence and it didn’t result in a custodial sentence.

If you were under the age of 18 at the time of the offence, the same rules as above will apply. However, the elapsed time period is 5 and a half years.

If you are concerned about a criminal record, then it might be that your only option to avoid this consequence is to defend the prosecution you face. You may think you have no defence but when we strip back the facts of an arrest we are often able to identify lawful defence issues and these combined with our, often unique, defence strategies could see the case against you dismissed.

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  • Daniel McTier
    on January 25, 2020 Reply

    Convicted of drink driving 15 years ago and 5 years ago would these convictions show up on a DBS check? Please advise

    • Jeanette Miller
      on January 27, 2020 Reply

      Dear Daniel,

      Whether or not a conviction will appear on your criminal check is dependent on whether you apply for a basic disclosure check, or an enhanced check.

      Standard DBS check

      A conviction for a drink driving offence will appear on your record. However, it becomes ‘spent’ after 5 years from the date of your conviction. Your first offence became ‘spent’ 5 years from the date of your conviction (about 10 years ago). If you were convicted of your second drink drive offence 5 years ago, depending on the exact date of your conviction, it is either now considered spent, or will soon become spent.

      Therefore, your first conviction will not be shown on a basic DBS check and the second conviction is dependent on the exact date of your conviction. When all of your convictions are ‘spent’, the disclosure will come back blank and show no record of your drink drive convictions.

      Enhanced Criminal Check

      Both of your convictions, would appear on the Enhanced Criminal check and their details would be disclosed on the certificate.

      Jeanette Miller

  • Paul Fletcher
    on January 31, 2020 Reply

    Dear Sir or Madam ,
    Hi I’m Paul , upon reading your article this evening I was wondering if you could advise me please , I have 2 drink drive convictions 1st 1998 ,(22 years ago ) for which I received a 2 year ban and a fine . 2nd 2002 (18 years ago ) 3 year ban and a fine . I thought they would be spent by now , but upon applying for a Painting and Decorating position at the NHS and getting my standard DBS certificate in the mail today , they have both shown up on my certificate . Needless to say I am shocked and had to go into a meeting with the recruiting manager to explain why I’d filled in the form stating that I didn’t have any convictions etc . I would be ever so grateful for any advice you could give as I’m very upset and worried that I will lose this particular job as I honestly didn’t think for a moment that this would show on a DBS report .
    Kindest Regards
    Paul Fletcher

    • Jeanette Miller
      on February 3, 2020 Reply

      Hi Paul,

      Convictions that are more than 5 years old should not show on a standard check as these are spent convictions. For some professions such as in the medical and teaching profession, enhanced DBS checks will be conducted and your convictions, even when spent, will be revealed on this.

      When you meet with the recruiting manager they should understand the difference between spent and unspent convictions.

      We hope this helps.

      Jeanette Miller

  • Aleksandra
    on February 6, 2020 Reply

    Hello .
    I’ve been convinced of fail to stop after a road accident.
    I went to court and had to pay fine and got penalties points .
    I’m want apply to work in prison .
    Is this going to show on my records?

    • Jeanette Miller
      on February 6, 2020 Reply

      Hi Aleksandra,

      Unfortunately this offence will show on a criminal record check.

      The Geoffrey Miller Team

  • Simon
    on February 11, 2020 Reply


    I have recently received a d10 ban for 12 months and was wondering would this show up on a basic DBS check? I have had no other convictions before and am in my 40’s,


    • Jeanette Miller
      on February 11, 2020 Reply

      Yes, this will show up on a standard check for a period of 5 years.

      The Geoffrey Miller Team

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