Frequently asked question.
We answer your questions regarding discharge.
Contact us to get the answers you are looking for in terms of conditional discharge or absolute discharge.
Do I have to make a donation in order to obtain a discharge?
Not necessarily. However, it is a custom is that the accused make a charitable donation. This custom satisfies an objective contained in a sentence, which is to provide reparations for harm done to victims or to the community. Click here for more details on the legal concerns of mak-ing a donation.
Can I be discharged even if I am guilty of a crime?
Yes. Discharges are given to people who are guilty of a crime. Although they are not an exceptional measure, certain requirements must be met for the judge to make such an order.
Can I be discharged if I am charged with child pornography?
The law does not permit a judge to discharge a person convicted of the possession, production or distribution of child pornography. Moreover, the Quebec Court of Appeal has made it clear that the courts have a duty to punish such crimes severely.
What is the difference between a conditional discharge and an absolute discharge?
An absolute discharge has no conditions, whereas a conditional discharge has conditions. For example, with respect to spousal abuse, when the judge grants a discharge, it may impose measures such as community service in order to satisfy public interest. The Criminal Records Act provides that:
6.1 (1) No record of a discharge under section 730 of the Criminal Code that is in the custody of the Commissioner or of any department or agency of the Government of Canada shall be disclosed to any person, nor shall the existence of the record or the fact of the discharge be disclosed to any person, without the prior approval of the Minister, iF
a) more than one year has elapsed since the offender was discharged absolutely; or
(b) more than three years have elapsed since the offender was discharged on the con-ditions prescribed in a probation order.
Marginal note: Withdrawal of absolution records
(2) The Commissioner shall remove from the automated record of criminal convictions kept by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police any reference to a record or statement evidencing an ab-solution after the expiry of the time period referred to in subsection (1).
“Discharge is not an exceptional sentence.“