Criminal Record Expungement: What You Need to Know

In today’s competitive job market, having a criminal record can be a significant hurdle to securing employment. However, there is a glimmer of hope for individuals seeking a fresh start through criminal record expungement. This legal procedure allows the removal of a criminal record from the National Criminal Register, offering a chance for reintegration into society and improved employment prospects. As a criminal record check service, HURU wants to help you understand the key aspects of criminal record expungement. Let’s look at the eligibility criteria, the application process, and the documents you would need to get in order.


Understanding Criminal Record Expungement


Criminal record expungement, also called the legal clearance of a criminal record, is a lifeline for those of us looking to wipe the slate clean. Introduced in 2009 as an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act, this mechanism aims to help those convicted of minor offences reintegrate into society after ten years or more. Expungement ensures that past mistakes are not insurmountable barriers to future employment opportunities.


Am I Eligible To Have My Criminal Record Expunged?


To qualify for criminal record expungement, your circumstances should meet the following criteria:


  • Time frame

A minimum of ten years should have passed since the date of the initial conviction. If you were 18 or younger at the time, it should be five years from the date of conviction.

  • Alternative to imprisonment

You were given the option of a fine rather than imprisonment.

  • Sentencing

You received a sentence of periodic imprisonment or correctional supervision rather than direct imprisonment.

  • Further offences

You weren’t convicted of any additional crimes during the ten years.

  • Nature of offence

You were convicted for a minor crime, such as shoplifting or fraud.

  • Fine Limit

The fine you needed to pay did not exceed R20,000.


Expungement is not an option under the following circumstances:


  • Sexual offences against vulnerable persons

Convictions for sexual offences against a child or a disabled person are not eligible for expungement.

  • Inclusion in registers

If your name appears in the National Register for Sex Offenders or the National Child Protection Register, you won’t qualify for expungement unless your name has been removed from the register(s).

  • Convictions of heinous crimes

Serious crimes like robbery, rape, murder, or assault with the intention of doing grievous bodily harm won’t qualify for expungement.


The Expungement Process


If you meet the criteria and would like to obtain an expungement of your criminal record, you can follow the following procedure:


Step 1: Obtain a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC)

Initiate the process by obtaining a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) from the Criminal Record Centre of the South African Police Service (SAPS). This certificate confirms the ten-year interval between the conviction(s) and sentence(s).


Step 2: Complete the Application

Fill out the application for expungement of a criminal record, attaching all required documentation.


Step 3: Provide proof

If you were included in the National Register for Sex Offenders, you must get confirmation from the Registrar that your name has been removed from the list. If your name appeared on the National Child Protection Register, the Director-General: Social Development must confirm that it has been removed. These authorisations or a certified true copy of the confirmation must be attached to your application.


Step 3: Submission

Send the completed application form and necessary documents either by post or hand delivery to the Director-General: Justice and Constitutional Development in Pretoria. You can find the addresses here.


Step 4: Evaluation

If the Director-General determines that the criteria are met, a certificate of expungement will be issued, directing the removal of convictions and sentences.


Step 5: Notification

The Head of the Criminal Record Centre will inform the applicant in writing about the successful expungement. This process typically takes around 20 to 28 weeks.


Can I Provide Proof Of Criminal Record Using A Criminal Record Check Service?

While both the PCC and criminal record checks serve the common purpose of assessing a person’s criminal background, they cater to different needs and levels of detail. Companies like HURU offer criminal record checks as fast and easy alternatives to the PCC – a service that is invaluable in scenarios like job applications, property rentals and e-hailing drivers. However, criminal record expungement is a formal legal process and requires the status of the PCC as a legal document.


Now that your record is clean, you can confidently pursue job opportunities without the burden of a past conviction. HURU is a valuable resource for you in this transformed position, offering swift and efficient criminal record checks. As you step into a new chapter, HURU provides the means to seamlessly prove your status to employers, ensuring that your fresh start is supported by a trustworthy and reliable partner. With expungement opening doors to brighter prospects, HURU stands ready to be your partner in demonstrating the positive change in your life. Learn more about our services today!


What Is The Difference Between A Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) And A Criminal Record Check?

How Can I Get a Criminal Record Check Done In South Africa?

How Criminal Record Checks Benefit Employers and Candidates in South Africa

Register an account to start a verification