Legal Studies 3080

Absolute or Conditional Discharge

As it name implies a discharge is one of the more lenient sentences a judge can hand out. In granting discharges, judges are indicating that they think it would be in the best interests of the offenders involved - and of society - to release the offenders with no conviction recorded against them. Judges often feel this way when they believe that an offender has learned a lesson and is very unlikely to offend again.

There are two types of discharge. If a conditional discharge is given, the offender will be placed on probation with certain conditions attached to the arrangement - for example, avoiding alcohol. When the conditions have been met, the discharge becomes absolute ; if they are not met, the offender will be brought back to court and re-sentenced. An absolute discharge, by contrast, has no strings attached.

In either case, if a discharge is granted, no conviction is recorded, though a record is made of the discharge.