What is a conditional or absolute discharge?
If you're found guilty of a crime, you will be sentenced by the judge. The judge decides your sentence based on what they think is appropriate and reasonable.
The type of you can get depends on:
- the crime you've been found guilty of
- the circumstances of the crime
- your personal circumstances
A sentence can range from no jail time, called a discharge, to having to go to jail.
When you're , you don't get a criminal conviction. You won't have a criminal record unless you had one before. But there will be a temporary record of your discharge for a specific period of time.
There are two types of discharges:
If you get an absolute discharge:
- you will not be on
- your record of discharge will be kept on file for 1 year
If you get a conditional discharge:
- you will be on probation for up to 3 years
- your record of discharge will be kept on file for 3 years
Your record of discharge is automatically removed after 1 or 3 years, depending on the type of discharge. You do not have to ask to have the record removed.
A discharge that is still on file can impact your life in many ways. For example:
- You may not be able to get jobs working with vulnerable people, such as children or the elderly.
- You may not be able to get jobs that require security clearance.
- You may not be able to travel or have problems when you do.
- The police may treat you differently if they know you have a record of discharge.
- Some countries may not recognize conditional discharges as non-convictions. You may be treated as though you have a conviction when traveling to these countries.
If you're of a new crime during your probation, your discharge can be revoked. Instead of the discharge you had before, you can be given a conviction that results in a criminal record, and a new sentence.