A release of a debtor from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts. Notable exceptions to dischargeability are taxes and student loans. A discharge releases a debtor from personal liability for certain debts known as dischargeable debts and prevents the creditors owed those debts from taking any action against the debtor or the debtor's property to collect the debts. The discharge also prohibits creditors from communicating with the debtor regarding the debt, including through telephone calls, letters, and personal contact.

Additional Sources


To liberate or free; to terminate or extinguish. A discharge is the act or instrument by which a contract or agreement is ended. A mortgage is discharged if it has been carried out to the full extent originally contemplated or terminated prior to total execution.

Discharge also means to release, as from legal confinement in prison or the military service, or from some legal obligation such as jury duty, or the payment of debts by a person who is bankrupt. The document that indicates that an individual has been legally released from the military service is called a discharge.

The performance of a duty discharges it. An attorney may speak of discharging a legal obligation.

Duhaime Legal Dictionary

The discharge is a fairly rare sentence in criminal law and is generally reserved for those particular situations which might warrant a discharge; either an absolute discharge - one with no conditions; or a conditional discharge.

The accused had pleaded guilty or been found guilty but, nonetheless, he is deemed not to have been convicted of the offence.

It should be noted that for a discharge to be even considered by a court, a finding of guilt is necessary. There is no basis for a discharge if the accused is found to be innocent.

In some situations, there may be little or no harm to a particular victim and the conduct of the accused while criminal by definition, a trivial or unintentional crime and not a threat to society.

A discharge is unlikely if the offender had a previous conviction as only well-motivated persons ought to qualify.

Another situation may be an accused person who while found guilty of a crime which caused little or no harm or threat to society, and found himself or herself significantly adversely affected by the commission of the crime.


To release from an obligation:

To relieve of a duty under an instrument (as a contract or a negotiable instrument)

Law.com Dictionary

1) to perform one's duties. 2) to dismiss someone from a job. 3) to pay one's debts or obligations. 4) in bankruptcy, to issue an order of the court that all debts (with certain statutory exceptions) are forgiven and need not be paid.

Lect Law Library

The act by which a person in confinement under some legal process, or held on an accusation of some crime or misdemeanor, is set at liberty; the writing containing the order for his being so set at liberty, is also called a discharge.

The discharge of a defendant, in prison under a ca. sa., when made by the plaintiff, has the operation of satisfying the debt, the plaintiff having no other remedy. But when the discharge is in consequence of the insolvent laws, or the defendant dies in prison, the debt is not satisfied. In the first place the plaintiff has a remedy against the property of the defendant, acquired after his discharge, and in the last case, against the executors or administrators of the debtor.