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Receiving a “Conditional Discharge” is one possible outcome when charged with an offence. While not a full conviction, a conditional discharge does require that the individual be found guilty of the particular offence- either by a plea, or a finding of guilt. A Conditional Discharge is essentially a sentence that requires the individual to abide by certain conditions for a set period of time. These conditions are often related to the nature of the offence, such as a drug and alcohol prohibition given as a condition for a drinking and driving charge.

The conditional discharge can be issued when it is considered “…to be in the best interests of the accused and not contrary to the public interest…”1 This decision rests solely with the court before which the accused appears. Several factors are taken into account when determining whether a conditional discharge will be issued, such as the seriousness of the offence, the affect a conviction would have on the accused’s life, and his or her likelihood of re-offending. Generally the conditions imposed by a Conditional Discharge are relatively minor, with the most common sentence issued being probation for a set period of time. In some cases the court may be satisfied that the offence was so minor, or that the risk of re-offence is so low, that the accused be “Absolutely Discharged” instead, which carries with it no conditions whatsoever.

What kind of record will a Conditional Discharge leave?

A conditional discharge will result in an entry on your federal criminal record, although it will specifically state that it was discharged. This conditional discharge will remain on your record for a minimum of three years. After this time period, the arresting police force must request that the conditional discharge be removed in order for your record to be cleared. This process has been done automatically for all discharges issued since July 24, 1992, but discharges prior to this date may still be retained on your record. If you have a discharge prior to July 24, 1992, you may require a record purge or record destruction. We provide this service under the heading of “Delete Your Police File” because we not only remove the discharge from your federal record on CPIC, but also make the effort to have any local records kept by the arresting police force destroyed.

If you have received a Conditional Discharge in the past, you may still have a criminal record kept at the federal level. For the removal of this record that may be costing you job or travel opportunities, we recommend that you contact our offices today for a free consultation.

1Criminal Code s. 730(1)

Policy for the Retention and Destruction of Non-Conviction Information