Conditional discharge

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In Canada, a conditional discharge is a sentence passed in criminal court in which an individual is found guilty of an offence but is deemed not to have been convicted. As a result, a conditional discharge produces no criminal record. While no conviction occurs the offender is required to fulfill certain conditions as part of his or her sentence. The offender is put on probation for a period of up to three years. If the offender fails to meet the conditions of his or her probation, or commits another criminal offence during the probation period, he or she may be returned to court where the discharge is cancelled and the offender may be given a criminal conviction and sentence on the original offence as well as for breach of probation. [1] The conditional discharge is purged from the individual's police record after three years.[2]

If the conditions of the discharge are met it becomes an absolute discharge.

A court may grant a conditional or absolute discharge only in offences that have a maximum penalty of less than fourteen years.

In Britain, a conditional discharge is a sentence in which the offender receives no immediate punishment if, in a period (set by the court) of between six months and three years no further offence is committed. If an offence is committed in that time, then the offender may also be sentenced for the offence in which a conditional discharge was given. In British conditional discharges, a conviction and record of the discharge becomes part of the offender's criminal record. Under the Crime and Disorder Act, 1988, British courts can only hand down a conditional discharge in exceptional circumstances.


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