What is a Conditional Discharge?

Our expert criminal solicitor Lucinda Dore helps explain the meaning of a Conditional Discharge.

A Conditional Discharge is a sentence imposed by courts and is often used for first time offenders who have exceptional mitigation to explain their behaviour.

The law allows a Conditional Discharge to be imposed where a court is of the opinion, having regard to the circumstances including the nature of the offence and the character of the offender that, that it is inexpedient to inflict punishment.

The court can either discharge that person from the court absolutely (although this is incredibly rare) or with a condition that he/she does not commit an offence during the period specified by the court (this can be up to three years).

The effect of this is that the offender will suffer no penalty for the offence, providing they do not commit a further offence during the specified period. If they do then any sentence for that new offence will be treated more seriously and they are liable to being re sentenced for the original offence for which the conditional discharge is imposed.

We will always seek to persuade a court to impose a Conditional Discharge where appropriate.

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