As we can see above, discharges take two forms: a discharge with conditions (i.e. a “conditional discharge”) and a discharge without conditions (i.e. an “absolute discharge”).
With a conditional discharge, the person’s records in CPIC are not expunged until three years after the completion of the terms of the conditions set out in the probation order. As an example, if a person was granted a conditional discharge on March 1, 2009 with conditions for 12 months (like keep the peace and be of good behaviour), then the date of expunging would be 12 months + 3 years = March 1, 2013.
Alternatively, an absolute discharge would be one year after the date the discharge was imposed. using the same example, the date of expunging would be March 1, 2010.
There are also several practical considerations that ought to be taken into account and discussed with your lawyer:
- Expunging records from CPIC will not necessarily mean that the police department who made the arrest will necessarily follow the same rules. Some police forces take the view that they will retain the records regardless of the outcome and may be disclosed in certain circumstances.
- Different jurisdictions outside of Canada may take a very different view of discharges and not necessarily consider these as pardons like the Canadian law presently does.
It is critically important that before accepting any such offer by the Crown Attorney, and deciding whether a discharge is appropriate for your particular set of circumstances, that you speak to an experienced criminal defence lawyer who can explain in greater detail all the benefits and disadvantages of discharges.