Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Conditional Discharge Definition:

A sentence of a person found guilty of a crime in which upon completion of specified actions by the accused, no criminal record issues as regards the offense for which a conditional discharge was granted.

Related Terms: Absolute Discharge, Conditional Sentence, Probation

• In the law of sentencing, a conditional discharge is one of two different varieties of discharges a court may give a person convicted of a crime; the other being the considerably less onerous one of an absolute discharge.

The court has considerable discretion as to what it might order in terms of conditions in these conditions are set out in a probation order.

A conditional discharge is a very precarious situation and one which the individual so benefiting must make every effort to comply with the conditions. A failure to comply with the probation order which accompanies the conditional discharge means that (from Halsbury and §730(4) of the Criminal Code):

"... the court that made the probation order containing the conditions may revoke the discharge, convict the offender of the offense to which the discharge relatesand impose any sentence that could have been imposed if the offender had been convicted at the time of discharge."

• The term is also used in the context of a bankruptcy where a court might defer the date of discharge subject to a number of conditions which the bankrupt must comply with.


  • Criminal Code of Canada, 1985 Revised Statutes of Canada Chapter C-46, published at canlii.com/ca/sta/c-46/, §730.
  • Gold, A., "Criminal Procedure", part of Halsbury's Laws of Canada, First Edition (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2007).
  • Ruby, C., and others, Sentencing, 7th Edition (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2008).
  • Salhany, R., Criminal Trial Handbook, (Toronto: Carswell, 2008), page 15-19.

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