Conditional Discharge in Canada: What You Should Know

If you have been found guilty of a criminal offence in Canada, you may be eligible for two sorts of discharges: absolute discharge and conditional release. A discharge is considered an unusual sentencing tool that permits accused persons to avoid a criminal conviction regardless of whether they were found guilty or pled guilty to a crime.Β 


The discharge does not result in a conviction; rather, the offence is absolutely or partially discharged with probation. No fine or prison time may be combined with it. In both situations, there is no criminal record and no record of the offence; nevertheless, if you are given a conditional discharge, you are required to abide by particular conditions outlined by the court in a probation order. Β After one year for an absolute discharge or three years for a conditional release, no record may be revealed to anybody by a federal agency without the Solicitor General's approval, with the exception of the verification of fingerprints.

When an individual is granted a conditional discharge, they are required to acknowledge the details of their wrongdoing and commit to fulfilling certain terms for a designated duration. The duration of their conditional discharge is determined by the gravity of their offence, ranging from 6 months to two years.

Conditional discharges may be accompanied by the following conditions:


You will be permanently released from the offence if you completely comply with the requirements imposed by the court of law for a specified length of time. If you violate the conditions of the court, you may face a new criminal prosecution for violating the probation period or failing to comply the court order.


If someone receives a conditional discharge, they must abide by a probation order for a period of one to three years, as determined during the sentencing process. In the event that they fail to comply with the terms of the probation order, the conditional discharge may be revoked, and they may be found guilty of the original offence that led to their release.

Conditional discharges may be accompanied by the following conditions:


You will be permanently released from the offence if you completely comply with the requirements imposed by the court of law for a specified length of time. If you violate the conditions of the court, you may face a new criminal prosecution for violating the probation period or failing to comply the court order.


Most crucially, failure to comply might result in the revocation of your conditional discharge, a conviction for the initial offence, a criminal record, and even a higher punishment or term.

Who Is Eligible For A Conditional Discharge?

Conditional discharge is an extraordinary or particular form of punishment that is granted for specific offences. The court has the responsibility to assess whether such a sentence would be beneficial for the public and the individual who committed the crime. The decision to grant this type of punishment is reserved for offences that are fitting, and the court holds the authority to approve or reject the request with confidence.

You will not be qualified for a conditional discharge if you have been charged with a crime that has a minimum sentence upon conviction. For instance, after a successful conviction, several sexual assaults and narcotics offences involving children have a minimum sentence of one year in jail. The offender will not be eligible for any discharge for such offences. Furthermore, a conditional discharge is not permitted for some offences, such as murder or robbery, for which the maximum term is 14 years in jail.


How to Get Approved for a Conditional Discharge

Applying for a Conditional Discharge can be a useful option if you are facing criminal charges in court. It provides an opportunity to avoid a criminal record and the consequences that come with it. To be granted a conditional release, you must either plead guilty or be found guilty of an eligible offence. Once that's done, you need to appear before the court and make a series of impactful submissions in favor of your discharge. These submissions must be presented to the court in an honourable manner and hold significant weight to increase your chances of being granted a conditional release.Β 


The court will then adjourn the case for a certain period of time. During this period, you must comply with certain conditions, such as attending counselling or not committing any further offences. If you successfully complete the conditions, the charge will be dismissed and you will not have a criminal record. It is important to note that not all charges are eligible for a Conditional Discharge, and it is best to consult with a lawyer to determine if this is an appropriate option for you.

The major goal of such submissions is to show that conditional discharge is in your best interests as well as the best interests of the public. The following are some of the important factors that are typically addressed when asking for a conditional discharge:





If you have recently been convicted of a crime, the court will be less likely to grant you a conditional discharge. On the other side, if you have excellent behaviour, a good reputation, and no past criminal record, the court will be more inclined to grant you a conditional release.

A conditional discharge may be a favorable outcome for punishment in certain cases. However, it may create challenges in securing employment or volunteer opportunities, and traveling to the United States, since it appears on your criminal record for three years.


It is important to note that even after the probationary period for your conditional release has expired, obtaining employment can be daunting if prospective employers discover your conditional discharge on your police record. Despite having no criminal history, a conditional discharge can create a negative impression and lead to a potential employer deciding not to hire you.


This post was created for you by Umer Law. Nothing on this website, despite our best attempts to do so, ought to be construed as legal advice. If you would like to assess your specific situation, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.