On Tuesday 18 September 2018 at 10h00 2018 the Constitutional Court ruled that personal use and possession of dagga is not a criminal offence – good news for those with a criminal record for dagga possession as said record may now be expunged.
According to reports government is currently mulling its approach to the expungement process concerning individuals who never appeared in court and instead paid admission of guilt fines. It’s estimated that these individuals number in the thousands, including the just over 1,000 individuals currently serving sentences for possession.
But there’s a catch: given that the law does not make provision for bulk criminal record expungements, everyone with a relevant criminal record will have to apply individually. This in itself poses a further problem, given that many who paid admission of guilt fines are unaware that it often results in a criminal record.
The good news is that the recent Constitutional Court ruling means that, even if you do have a criminal record you previously didn’t know about, you can now apply for expungement without completing the usual 10-year waiting period.
Here’s how to find out whether you do have a criminal record, and if so, how to get started with the expungement process.
Optional: Criminal Record Check / Police Clearance Certificate
Paid an admission of guilt fine? Not sure whether you have a criminal record? The first step is to get a criminal record check.
A criminal record check compares your fingerprints to those stored at the Criminal Record Centre in Pretoria. While the process may take up to 8 weeks when you apply directly at your local SAPS branch, a small premium at a registered background screening company ensures expediency, with results available in 48 hours (read more here).
Criminal Record Expungement
The criminal record expungement process itself is relatively straightforward, but comes with the downside that it may take months to process. If you are already aware of the presence of a criminal record for possession of dagga, the expungement process includes the following steps:
- Sign up for criminal record expungement here, or call us on 0861 274 911. We charge a fee of R2,243 for the entire process which is payable upfront.
- A copy of your fingerprints will be submitted to the SAPS Criminal Record Centre in Pretoria. This is required to obtain a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC).
- Your PCC and application for the expungement of your criminal record will then be forwarded to the Department of Justice for processing. This may take up to 6 months.
- Your application is returned to the Criminal Record Centre to clear your name. This takes approximately 21 days.
- Finally, an application is made for a new Police Clearance Certificate to confirm that your criminal record has been expunged.
For more information about criminal record checks or the criminal record expungement process, contact us on 0861 274 911.