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All about Expungement of Criminal Records Process


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

When someone is found guilty of a crime it gets filed away as a criminal record on the National Criminal Register. And with a criminal record, many doors are closed to persons who have been rehabilitated or those who simply made a mistake. However, there is hope as the South African Justice Department implemented a law in 2009 that helps people clear their records.

So who can apply for an expungement of their criminal records? The Department of Justice and Constitutional makes way for the following cases:

  • The conviction should be older than 10 years
  • There have been no other convictions in that 10 year period
  • The sentence does not form part of those conviction excluded from expungement
  • There was a complete suspension of the sentence
  • The sentence was served under correctional supervision in terms of section 276(1)(h) of the Act
  • The sentence fell under corporal punishment
  • The criminal record is a fine not exceeding R20 000

In order to start the process of expungement of a criminal record, the applicant must apply for a police clearance certificate to prove that they have not been convicted of any other crimes through the Criminal Record Centre of the South African Police Service. Thereafter they should complete the application form and mail it to the Director-General for Justice and Constitutional Development. If the application satisfies the Director-General, a certificate of expungement will be issued and the applicant will be informed by the head of the Criminal Record Centre.

Lastly, there are exceptions to expungement and the following convictions may not be removed from the Criminal Record Centre:

  • Sexual offences against a child or a mentally-challenged person
  • If the applicant’s name appears on the National Child Protection Register or National Register for Sex Offenders – unless these offences have been removed from the registers
  • Where incarceration took place with no option of a fine

Should you have a criminal record that requires expungement or you simply need input on the process, reach out to us and we can refer you to an attorney than get the process started.

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