It is a usual practice for firms to require an individual to declare if he or she has any criminal record or whether they have ever been convicted in a court of law during job applications. That said, having a criminal record could potentially affect one’s job applications. Are all convictions subject to criminal records? Can records be removed? Read on to find out 3 things you need to know about criminal records in Singapore.

  1. What offence amounts to a criminal record in Singapore?

An offence will be registered as a criminal record if the accused is:

  • Convicted of any registrable crime within Singapore;
  • Convicted of any offence committed within, and registrable under the law of Malaysia;
  • Ordered to be banished, expelled or deported from Singapore or Malaysia; or
  • Convicted of any offence in, or banished, deported or expelled from, any place outside of Singapore and Malaysia, and such particulars are furnished to the Registrar by the relevant officers of such place.

*Refer to the First and Second Schedules of the Registration of Criminals Act for the list of registrable crimes

  1. Are there exceptions to registration?

Yes, the Commissioner of Police may exercise his discretion not to register the offence if:

  • The offence is one listed in the Second Schedules of the Registration of Criminals Act;
  • The offender was sentenced to a fine not exceeding $1,000 and not imprisonment (except in default of payment of the fine); and
  • The offender has not been previously registered as a criminal.

Where the discretion not to register the offence has been exercised, the Registrar shall retain the registrable particulars of the accused for a period of 6 months from the date of receiving them. Upon expiration of the 6 months, the particulars shall be destroyed if there are no directions to register the said particulars.

  1. Can the record be removed?

The law renders certain conviction for minor offences to be “spent”. When the record is spent, the offender is deemed not to have such a criminal record. However, note that this does not amount to erasing the record.

For a record to be spent, the offender must remain “crime-free” for a period of 5 years from the date he was sentenced (if he was not sentenced to imprisonment) or date he completed his imprisonment term.

However, an offender is disqualified from having his record deemed spent in these cases:

  • The offender was sentenced to a fine exceeding $2,000 or imprisonment exceeding 3 months;
  • The conviction was an offence listed in the Third Schedule of the Registration of Criminals Act;
  • Offender has more than one record on the register;
  • Offender previously has a spent record on the register

Upon fulfilment of the 5 year “crime-free” period, the record will automatically be spent. No action is required on the offender.

Consult a criminal lawyer

Are you still having concern on whether your offence will be registered and/or will be spent? Do not hesitate to approach our team of criminal lawyers for further advice.

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