If you have been found guilty of committing a criminal offence, you may be offered a conditional discharge or absolute discharge as an alternative to jail time and a permanent criminal record. Such offers are generally only given for non-violent offences, such as theft and drug crimes, that may be better addressed with counselling or rehabilitation than time behind bars.
Under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Criminal Records Act, an individual who is charged with a crime may be facing a jail sentence and hefty fines, but the Crown Attorney may also offer probation, conditional sentences, and discharges, when appropriate.
Vilkhov Law has protected the rights of countless individuals charged with criminal offences, and we have an exemplary record of obtaining the results our clients want. We will defend your best interests, and work tirelessly to keep your record clean. Do not attempt to go through this difficult process alone. If you have been charged with a criminal offence in Ontario, we can help. Contact Vilkhov Law today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

Conditional Discharge vs. Absolute Discharge

As both conditional and absolute discharges do not result in a permanent criminal record, obtaining a discharge is often the preferred outcome when facing criminal charges. That being said, sometimes a discharge remains on a person’s permanent record due to an internal mistake, such as having it inaccurately recorded as a conviction, or because the courts or police simply fail to process the purge.
In addition to no permanent criminal record, obtaining either type of discharge means that you will be found guilty but not convicted. This is an important distinction for many reasons, one of which is the ability to answer truthfully on job applications that you have never been convicted of a crime. If, however, the application asks if you’ve ever been found guilty, you would need to answer yes.
Although there are similarities between conditional and absolute charges, there are also distinct differences.

Conditional discharge occurs when the court finds you guilty of the charges against you and offers discharge in lieu of a criminal record, but with certain conditions. Generally speaking, a conditional discharge includes up to three years of probation. The conditions of your probation will depend largely on the type and severity of your offence, and any prior criminal history.
If you fail to adhere to the conditions of your discharge, you will likely get an even tougher sentence than the original sentence for the underlying crime, and you may be charged with another offence. If, however, you abide by the terms of the conditional discharge, it should be automatically removed from the Canadian Police database within three years. As mentioned earlier, however, it is important not to simply assume that the discharge has been purged; an Ontario defence lawyer can ensure that proper protocol has been followed and your record has been cleared after the appropriate amount of time has passed.
An absolute discharge, on the other hand, carries no probation, no conditions, and no future requirement to return to court. Furthermore, an absolute discharge will only remain on the offender’s criminal record for one year after the discharge is complete. Aside from a complete withdrawal of charges, absolute discharge is the preferred outcome for anyone facing criminal charges.

Does a Discharge Show up on Your Background Check?

The short answer is yes, a discharge will appear on a background check for employment, housing, adoption, and volunteering until—and if—it is purged.

This purge should occur in three years if the discharge is conditional, and one year if absolute. In some cases, the discharge will be automatically purged, but you may have to request the purge in writing. If an automatic purge does not occur and you do not request to have the discharge removed, it will remain on your record permanently.

Furthermore, if you disclose your discharge to a third party, such as a potential employer, that third party may create a permanent record of the offence.

Can You Travel With a Conditional Discharge?

It depends. Although a discharge does not result in a criminal conviction, it is an admission of guilt. The United States views this admission of guilt the same as any conviction or admission of guilt; if it pertains to an excludable offence, you will be prohibited from travelling to the U.S. However, if your offence is one of several non-excludable offences, the discharge will not impact your ability to travel. The current non-excludable offences are as follows:

  • Impaired driving charge
  • Mischief
  • Common assault
  • Assaulting a peace officer
  • Failure to comply
  • Trespassing
  • Causing a disturbance

Generally speaking, none of these offences will prevent you from international travel. If, however, your discharge is tied to an excludable offence, such as a crime of violence or moral turpitude (theft, fraud), you will be prohibited from travel, with rare exceptions.

Is a Discharge Better than a Withdrawn Charge?

No. A withdrawn charge is preferable to a conditional or absolute discharge because the offender is not found guilty when a charge is withdrawn. Although a discharge does not result in a conviction, it does result in a guilty charge. And with no equivalent to an absolute or conditional charge in the United States, someone could be denied U.S. entry if a border guard sees that they were found guilty of certain charges.

This is one of the many reasons it is so important to work with experienced legal counsel before accepting any type of discharge offered by the Crown Attorney. In many cases, an absolute or conditional discharge may be preferable to the alternative, but not always. An experienced Ontario defence lawyer can evaluate your unique situation to determine the best legal strategy for moving forward.

Contact Vilkhov Law Today

If you have been charged with any type of criminal offence, the skilled legal team at Vilkhov Law can help. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to navigating the criminal justice system, and we will tailor our strategy to your unique situation and needs. Our client-focused partnership approach ensures that the client’s best interests always come first. We will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected and position you for the most favourable outcome possible. If you are facing criminal charges, don’t face them alone. Contact Vilkhov Law today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

By |2023-09-12T16:23:58+00:00January 26th, 2021|Criminal Defence|

5/5 - (2 votes)

Criminal Lawyers Association
Toronnto Lawyers Association
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Criminal Lawyers Association
Toronnto Lawyers Association
Law Society of Ontario
Excellent4.9 Based on 99 reviews fromDaniel SlobodkinDaniel Slobodkin ★★★★★ I have known Mr. Vilkhov in a professional and personal capacity for several years. Mr. Vilkhov is a well-respected and devoted criminal lawyer who prioritizes the success and livelihood of his clients. Mr. Vilkhov goes out of his way and makes time, at all times of day, to tend to the needs of his clients. Mr. Vilkhov is a diligent lawyer I would recommend to anyone dealing with a criminal matter. Well-spoken, confident, methodical and professional are qualities that only begin to scratch the surface of Mr. Vilkhov criminal law practice and his character at whole.Amina HuseynovaAmina Huseynova ★★★★★ I've known Igor professionally for a long time, one of the most dedicated criminal lawyers I have met. He gets amazing results for his clients and I would recommend anyone who is looking to hire him.maddy mmaddy m ★★★★★ I am international student in Canada, six months ago I was falsely accused of SA and I was charged. I had never dealt with all this in my life and I started looking for a lawyer. I spoke too more than 50 lawyers all over ontario and every lawyer I spoke to tried to scare me and told me that I am a dead meat here and this thing is definitely going to trial and were only interested in talking about their fees. Mr Vilkhov patiently heard my case and told me that there is a high possibility of getting the case withdrawn . He was straightforward and honest. He convinced me after one call that he is the right lawyer for me to retain. He charged a very reasonable fee which he let me pay in installments. He kept me well informed about my case in every stage. Mr. Vilkhov and Daniel from his team were my constant support. Every message and every phone call was answered.Mr Vilkhov got the charges withdrawn!!! My case was in a jurisdictions were cases like these never get withdrawn. But Mr. Vilkhov gave his best and got the charges withdrawn without any conditions. I cannot thank Vilkhov law professional for giving my life back! Mr. Vilkhov is very knowledgeable and he is the lawyer you need by your side when you need it the most! He wins when you need it the most! Thank you Vilkhov law corporation!Jay ModiJay Modi ★★★★★ Igor and his team exceeded my expectations, efficiently getting all charges dropped in my case. His timely responses, coupled with Daniel's eloquence, made for an exceptional first-time experience with a lawyer. They provided a unique blend of empathy and straightforwardness that instilled confidence throughout the legal process. Highly recommendable for anyone in need of a criminal justice lawyer.Naqib PopalNaqib Popal ★★★★★ I just left Brampton courthouse. I was acquitted of 11 charges after a long trial. Igor Vilkhov absolutely killed it during the entire trial. If it wasn’t for him, I would be going to jail. Thank you so much for your work, you ensured the truth came out. Thank you, you got me my life back.Chad AllanChad Allan ★★★★★ Igor got me an amazing deal, he was always communicating with me and updating me about my case, he got me the deal of a lifetime and I can’t him enough. If you are reading this and you are thinking about who to hire, just call him, he is the right lawyer for you.Jamie LewisJamie Lewis ★★★★★ If you need a lawyer who is actually going to work for you, and get results go with Igor at Vilkhov Law. He was very patient and understanding and knows his stuff. I was facing a huge fine which would have devastated me financially for years to come, but with his passionate submission to crown on my behalf he was able to get the fine reduced by 90%. His colleagues he works with are amazing too. Thank you so much for all of your help through this matter Igor! You truely have saved my future. I appreciate it beyond measure! All the best in the future!Akash TyagiAkash Tyagi ★★★★★ Hi all, When i just came to Canada, i got charged with SA, which was a nightmare for me where my so called friends left my side. Then by luck i got to know Mr. Igor and that day changed everything.Being new in a country could cost me a lot but with Igor’s genuine efforts to help me, saved my life.A big thanks to him and god bless him.Must recommended lawyer.Thanks a ton Igor.❤️ted ferreirated ferreira ★★★★★ I met Igor approximately two years ago when we met with him regarding SA charges against our son. Over that time Igor was always there to answer questions that we had, he was reassuring explaining that we had a strong case.From the beginning we were impressed with Igor's demeanor, he was always calm and to the point, he did his best to keep us on track with the facts.Thanks to Igor's thorough preparation he was able to get the SA charges stayed. I cannot tell you how incredible that feeling was.We owe so much to him.We highly recommend Igor to anyone needing Legal help, he will work tirelessly on your behalf.OKOLI MARKOKOLI MARK ★★★★★ Thank you Igor Vilkhov for helping me go through my legal case from the very beginning to the end. Igor's professional advice and approach to difficult legal matter is excellent and recommended, Case has been withdrawn from court!! 1 million thanks for the support throughout this process 🙏.Laura BeniaLaura Benia ★★★★★ Professional, honest and caring.Zafreenp PZafreenp P ★★★★★ Igor and his staff were amazing. They were quick and very assertive. 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My life, once filled with joy and contentment, had been shattered.In my darkest hour, I sought solace and hope in the form of legal representation, which is when I was introduced to Igor. From our very first meeting, I was immediately struck by his professionalism, empathy, and genuine concern for my well-being. He attentively listened to my side of the story, displaying not only a deep understanding of the complexities of my situation but also an unwavering belief in my innocence.Throughout the entire legal process, Igor's expertise shone brilliantly. His knowledge of the law, combined with his sharp analytical skills, allowed him to navigate the intricate labyrinth of the courtroom with finesse and precision. He meticulously examined every piece of evidence, leaving no stone unturned, in order to construct a compelling defense strategy that would effectively dismantle the false allegations stacked against me.But it was not just Igor's exceptional legal acumen that stood out. 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His unwavering support and impeccable legal skills have forever changed my life, enabling me to embark on a new journey filled with hope, resilience, and gratitude.If you find yourself in a similar predicament, entrusting Igor with your defense is a decision you will never regret. His professionalism, expertise, and unwavering dedication to justice are qualities that make him a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. With Igor by your side, you can rest assured that you have an advocate who will relentlessly fight for your rights, champion your cause, and bring about a positive resolution.Leapfrog Epic5555Leapfrog Epic5555 ★★★★★ Igor Vilkhov represented me for a very important matter. Igor is a fantastic lawyer and helped me through a very difficult time. From the start of the engagement to resolution. I would highly recommend Igor Vilkhov. Highest quality legal services and professional representation. 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I felt like crying for days leading up to that phone call because of depression and I cried when the phone call ended because of exhaustion followed by RELIEF (I am 36 years old and do not remember the last time I cried before that).From the moment I retained his services, Mr. Vilkhov and his team took charge of the case and other than listening to updates on the progress, my 'job' was done. Igor's initial calm demeanor never ever changed and every one of my inquiries was promptly addressed and explained so a child could understand. The outcome: ALL CHARGES WITHDRAWN. Life back in order, like nothing happened.Igor, I owe you my life and because of that I will never waste another minute of it. I am so grateful to God, and so grateful to you and your team I could cry again.I had disappointing experiences with a lawyer in the GTA and also another city in what feels like another lifetime now, but the most honest way to describe my experience with Vilkhov Law is it was PERFECT.I sincerely believe Igor Vilkhov is the best lawyer in Canada and highly recommend his services to any person alive. All is not lost when you are indicted, the system is designed to make you feel like it is.Igor, thank you again from the bottom of my heart. You are to law what Djokovic is to tennis, Pele to soccer, Ali to boxing !!!God bless you and your loved ones! I wish you all the best things in the worldSpasibo. 🙏MilosWaheed KhanWaheed Khan ★★★★★ Best lawyer in Toronto Ontario Canada has saved youth and young men from unfortunate circumstances to live a free and luscious life filled with hope and prosperity, would recommend 100 times very professional and time mannered.M CzekM Czek ★★★★★ Mr. Vilkhov and his team are absolutely amazing. Throughout the whole process, he communicated exceptionally and had my charges dropped, thankfully.He is the right choice. Don’t look any further.Rachel SnyderRachel Snyder ★★★★★ Igor Vilkhov was an absolute pleasure to work with. I had a substantial amount of fraud charges and I was looking at some very serious federal time for the crimes I committed. Igor helped me so much in every way possible. He was persistent with what he thought was a reasonable sentence for me when it came to his meetings with the crown and I nearly cried when he told me I was looking at a joint submission of Time Served position. Igor gave me hope when I had seriously started to run out. He got things done in very timely fashion and not once did I worry or have to wonder what was going on with my case. Igor always answered my calls and kept me in the loop every step of the way. I would recommend Igor Vilkhov as a lawyer anyday. I will definitely be using his services should I ever need to in the future. Thank you so much Igor for everything. I am home with my family now and I couldn't be happier. This is all a big thanks to you. God bless 🙏Tracey AshTracey Ash ★★★★★ Mr. Vilkhov represented my son through this traumatic experience resulting in the best case scenario we could possibly hope for! Charges were dropped! My many thanks to him and his team for their understanding and going the mile for my son and our family I can't thank them enough!💜d Freemand Freeman ★★★★★ Igor saved my life. In 2020 I was charged with SA. SA is a serious criminal accusation with life-changing consequences if found guilty. The criminal justice system is sometimes flawed, and I was afraid to fall through the cracks. With strong legal rights afforded to complainants, I needed a SA experienced lawyer. With no prior contact with the police or the court system, I was scared and lost and didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t sleep, eat, or think, and felt like I was living in a nightmare. I needed a very experienced criminal defence lawyer to deal with this situation. I retained Igor Vilkhov in 2021. He was very supportive and knowledgeable about the charges I was facing, and I knew instantly I had a determined and experienced lawyer on my side. He is highly articulate and shows strong professional acumen towards his work. My case took 2.5 years because it went to trial. In my trial, Igor was prepared and was dedicated, and worked tirelessly. My case went to a 4-day trial with the crown having 2 witnesses. I faced significant jail time and the strong possibility of being added to the SO Registry. He devised a legal strategy and supported it with strong case law. His attentiveness and determination led to a successful defence and acquittal of all the charges with the verdict being very one-sided. The stigma of being charged with a SA loomed over me and I thought my life was over. He showed empathy for my case and never judged me. I owe Igor everything. I have a daughter and a baby on the way. His diligence and work towards my case gave me the chance to be with my family. Igor Thank you for helping me get through one of the most difficult times in my life. God bless you.Mary FisherMary Fisher ★★★★★ He is a great lawyer and works hard for his clients and is a really nice person to work with and he is easy to talk to. All around really great lawyer to have in your corner.Samara PierreSamara Pierre ★★★★★ I got referred to vilkhov law with great reviews but still skeptical knowing my legal matter was very serious and I had no hope. But after the first meeting with Igor vilkhov I felt very positive about my legal matter. He took all my stress away and handle everything efficiently. What an amazing and understanding lawyer! 5 stars!!!!!js_loader

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