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20. I HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD. CAN MY LAWYER HAVE IT EXPUNGED?

From 6 May 2009 a person may apply, in writing, to the Director-General of Justice and Constitutional Development for the removal of certain entries on his criminal record after 10 years have elapsed since the conviction for that offence and he has in that time not been sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine.

The following sentences can be removed:

(i) a postponed sentence;

(ii) where the person was cautioned and discharged;

(iii) a sentence in the form of a fine only, not exceeding R20 000;

(iv) a sentence of corporal punishment before corporal punishment;

(v) any sentence of imprisonment with the option of a fine, not exceeding R20 000;

(vi) any sentence of imprisonment which was suspended wholly;

(vii) a sentence of correctional supervision, referred to in section 276 (1) (h) or (i); or

(viii) a sentence of periodical imprisonment, referred to in section 276 (1) (c).

But not a person whose name has been included in the National Register for Sex Offenders or National Child Protection Register.

All the entries that relates to offences committed in contravention of specified legislation enacted during apartheid and which created offences that were based on race are automatically expunged from a person’s criminal record. Unspecified offences which created offences that were based on race or which created offences, which would not have been considered to be offences in an open and democratic society, based on human dignity, equality and freedom, under the constitutional dispensation after 27 April 1994, the criminal record, containing the conviction and sentence in question, of that person must, on the person's written application, also be expunged.

Sec 271B Criminal Procedure Act 51 1977

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