What is a conditional or absolute discharge?

1. Understand how the judge decides

It is up to the judge to decide if you should be . With a discharge, you don't get a permanent criminal record.

You may get a discharge if this is the first time you've been charged with a crime and the crime was minor. But the judge doesn't have to give you a discharge just because it's your first crime.

And, if it isn't your first crime, the judge can still decide to give you a discharge.

To give you a discharge instead of a conviction, the judge must believe:

  • a discharge is in your best interest, and
  • a discharge is not against public interest.

If you're discharged, you will either be:

  • given an and allowed to leave without any conditions, or
  • given a and required to follow conditions on for up to 3 years.

If you get a conditional discharge, and you don't follow the terms of your probation, your conditional discharge can be taken back by the court and replaced with a conviction.

Records of absolute discharge are automatically destroyed after 1 year. Records of conditional discharge are automatically destroyed after 3 years.

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