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Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA)

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The following information was received yesterday from DVLA:

Guidance on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

The Ministry of Justice has recently reformed the rehabilitation periods for criminal convictions that are set out in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA). These reforms, made under the Legal Aid (Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders) Act 2013, are aimed at enabling offenders to be rehabilitated more quickly. Rehabilitation periods have been reduced so they become spent more quickly. Once spent, a conviction should not be disclosed.

The rehabilitation period for road traffic offences is 5 years (halved for offences committed by minors). While DVLA continues to record endorsement information on paper counterparts and driver records for 4 or 11 years, the information cannot lawfully be released to third parties once it is spent under the ROA.

DVLA must comply with the law and has therefore amended all enquiry channels to ensure spent endorsement data is not released to third parties. This may mean that in some cases driving licence paper counterparts will hold endorsement information that is not provided by DVLA enquiry channels.

These changes concern drivers who have Drink Drive and other serious offences recorded against them. At Licence Bureau we are taking immediate steps to adapt to the variation in results from DVLA and also change those currently on the system now showing incorrectly.

Which parts of the UK does the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act apply to?

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act applies throughout the UK. However there are some differences to the way in which it operates in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where it is an area of devolved responsibility. This document should therefore be considered a guide to England and Wales only.

Important Note: This is intended as general guidance only. It is not legal advice and must not be regarded as a definitive interpretation of the 1974 Act. Anyone in doubt should seek their own legal advice.

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