What is a Discharge?

A discharge is a sentence that a Judge may impose.  A discharge means that you have been found guilty of an offence but there will be no conviction on your record.  Although a discharge does not technically constitute a ‘criminal record’ (a conviction), it will stay on your record for a period of time.  An absolute discharge will remain on your record for one year and no probationary term is required.  A conditional discharge will require a term of probation and will remain on your record for three years.  Section 730 of the Criminal Code of Canada states that after a guilty plea or a finding of guilt, the court may “instead of convicting the accused, by order direct that the accused be discharged absolutely or on the conditions prescribed in a probation order.”  If you receive a conditional discharge and are caught breaching any of the conditions of your probation, you may be convicted of the original offence and sentenced accordingly.

Before imposing a conditional or absolute discharge, a Judge must consider whether it is in the best interest of the accused and not contrary to the public interest.

If you have a question about a discharge, call (416)-428-2760 to speak with a criminal defence lawyer.

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