Difference Between
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Acquittal vs. Discharge: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 26, 2024
Acquittal is a legal verdict declaring a defendant not guilty of a charge, while discharge is a court's decision to release a defendant before or during a trial without a verdict.
Acquittal vs. Discharge

Key Differences

Acquittal is a formal declaration by a court that the accused is not guilty of the crime charged, typically after a full trial. Discharge, however, occurs when the court releases the accused from the case, often before a trial is completed or sometimes without a trial, usually due to insufficient evidence or procedural issues.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 26, 2024
In the case of an acquittal, the accused has faced trial and the evidence has been reviewed and judged insufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In contrast, a discharge may happen at any stage in the legal process if the judge deems the case inappropriate for trial or finds legal deficiencies in the prosecution's case.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 26, 2024
Once acquitted, a defendant cannot be retried for the same offense, a protection against double jeopardy. Discharge, on the other hand, does not always provide such finality; in some cases, the prosecution may refile charges if additional evidence is found.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 26, 2024
Acquittal is a clear legal outcome based on the merits of the case, reflecting a decision on the actual charges. Discharge may be based on technical or procedural grounds and does not necessarily relate to the substantive issue of guilt or innocence.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 26, 2024
The impact of acquittal on a defendant's record is that of a person who has been cleared of criminal charges, often restoring their reputation. Discharge, while removing immediate legal jeopardy, may still leave some ambiguity regarding the defendant's involvement in the alleged crime, depending on the reason for the discharge.
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Jan 26, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Stage in Legal Process

Typically occurs after a full trial.
Can occur before or during a trial.
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Jan 26, 2024

Based on

Judgment on the merits of the case.
Legal or procedural grounds, often not related to merits.
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Implication of Guilt

Declares defendant not guilty.
Does not necessarily imply guilt or innocence.
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Double Jeopardy Protection

Prevents retrial for the same offense.
May allow for retrial under certain conditions.
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Jan 26, 2024

Impact on Defendant's Record

Clears the defendant of charges, often restoring reputation.
May leave ambiguity regarding involvement in the crime.
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Jan 26, 2024
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Acquittal and Discharge Definitions

Acquittal

Acquittal signifies the end of a criminal trial with a verdict of not guilty.
The judge pronounced an acquittal, dismissing all charges against her.
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Discharge

Discharge can occur when a court decides there's insufficient evidence to continue a trial.
His discharge came after the key witness retracted their statement.
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Acquittal

An acquittal occurs when a court decides that there is insufficient evidence to convict.
The acquittal was based on the lack of credible evidence against the accused.
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Jan 07, 2024

Discharge

Discharge is the court's decision to let a defendant go without a verdict.
The unexpected discharge of the accused left the public in disbelief.
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Jan 07, 2024

Acquittal

Acquittal is the judicial finding of innocence in a criminal trial.
His acquittal confirmed that the justice system worked in his favor.
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Discharge

Discharge may be granted if the court finds legal deficiencies in the prosecution’s case.
The judge granted a discharge, citing lack of jurisdiction.
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Acquittal

Judgment, as by a jury or judge, that a defendant is not guilty of a crime as charged.
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Jan 06, 2024

Discharge

Discharge is a legal action that ends a case without determining guilt or innocence.
The discharge did not clear his name, but it ended the legal proceedings.
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Jan 07, 2024

Acquittal

The state of being found or proved not guilty.
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Jan 06, 2024

Discharge

To release, as from confinement, care, or duty
Discharge a patient.
Discharge a soldier.
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Acquittal

The act of fulfilling the duties (of a given role, obligation etc.).
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Discharge

To let go; empty out
A train discharging commuters.
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Acquittal

(legal) A legal decision that someone is not guilty with which they have been charged, or the formal dismissal of a charge by some other legal process.
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Discharge

To pour forth; emit
A vent discharging steam.
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Acquittal

Payment of a debt or other obligation; reparations, amends.
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Discharge

To shoot
Discharge a pistol.
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Acquittal

(historical) The act of releasing someone from debt or other obligation; acquittance.
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Discharge

To remove from office or employment.
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Acquittal

(rare) Avoidance of danger; deliverance.
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Discharge

To perform the obligations or demands of (an office, duty, or task).
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Acquittal

The act of acquitting; discharge from debt or obligation; acquittance.
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Discharge

To comply with the terms of (a debt or promise, for example).
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Acquittal

A setting free, or deliverance from the charge of an offense, by verdict of a jury or sentence of a court.
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Discharge

(Law) To release from debt, as in bankruptcy.
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Acquittal

A judgment of not guilty
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Discharge

To remove (color) from cloth, as by chemical bleaching.
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Acquittal

Acquittal is a legal verdict where a defendant is found not guilty of a charge.
The jury's acquittal of the defendant brought relief to his family.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 07, 2024

Discharge

(Electricity) To cause the release of stored energy or electric charge from (a battery, for example).
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Acquittal

Acquittal releases a defendant from the charge of a crime.
The news reported the high-profile acquittal of the celebrity.
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Discharge

To apportion (weight) evenly, as over a door.
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Discharge

To relieve (a part) of excess weight by distribution of pressure.
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Discharge

To clear the record of the loan of (a returned library book).
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Discharge

To relieve (a ship, for example) of a burden or of contents; unload.
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Discharge

To unload or empty (contents).
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Discharge

To go off; fire
The musket discharged loudly.
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Discharge

To pour forth, emit, or release contents.
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Discharge

To become blurred, as a color or dye; run.
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Discharge

To undergo the release of stored energy or electric charge.
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Discharge

To get rid of a burden, load, or weight.
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Discharge

The act of shooting or firing a projectile or weapon.
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Discharge

A flowing out or pouring forth; emission; secretion
A discharge of pus.
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Discharge

The amount or rate of emission or ejection.
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Discharge

Something that is discharged, released, emitted, or excreted
A watery discharge.
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Discharge

The act or an instance of removing an obligation, burden, or responsibility.
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Discharge

Fulfillment of the terms of something, such as a debt or promise.
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Discharge

Performance, as of an office or duty.
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Discharge

Dismissal or release from employment, service, care, or confinement.
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Discharge

An official document certifying such release, especially from military service.
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Discharge

Release of stored energy in a capacitor by the flow of current between its terminals.
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Discharge

Conversion of chemical energy to electric energy in a storage battery.
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Discharge

A flow of electricity in a dielectric, especially in a rarefied gas.
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Discharge

Elimination of net electric charge from a charged body.
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Discharge

The act of removing a load or burden.
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Discharge

To accomplish or complete, as an obligation.
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Discharge

To free of a debt, claim, obligation, responsibility, accusation, etc.; to absolve; to acquit; to forgive; to clear.
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Discharge

To send away (a creditor) satisfied by payment; to pay one's debt or obligation to.
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Discharge

To set aside; to annul; to dismiss.
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Discharge

To expel or let go.
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Discharge

To let fly, as a missile; to shoot.
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Discharge

(electricity) To release (an accumulated charge).
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Discharge

To relieve of an office or employment; to send away from service; to dismiss.
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Discharge

(medicine) To release (an inpatient) from hospital.
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Discharge

(military) To release (a member of the armed forces) from service.
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Discharge

To release legally from confinement; to set at liberty.
To discharge a prisoner
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Discharge

To operate (any weapon that fires a projectile, such as a shotgun or sling).
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Discharge

(logic) To release (an auxiliary assumption) from the list of assumptions used in arguments, and return to the main argument.
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Discharge

To unload a ship or another means of transport.
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Discharge

To put forth, or remove, as a charge or burden; to take out, as that with which anything is loaded or filled.
To discharge a cargo
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Discharge

To give forth; to emit or send out.
A pipe discharges water.
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Discharge

To let fly; to give expression to; to utter.
He discharged a horrible oath.
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Discharge

To bleach out or to remove or efface, as by a chemical process.
To discharge the colour from a dyed fabric in order to form light figures on a dark background
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Discharge

To prohibit; to forbid.
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Discharge

Pus or exudate (other than blood) from a wound or orifice, usually due to infection or pathology.
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Discharge

The act of accomplishing (an obligation) or repaying a debt etc.; performance.
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Discharge

The act of expelling or letting go.
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Discharge

The act of firing a projectile, especially from a firearm.
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Discharge

The process of unloading something.
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Discharge

The process of flowing out.
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Discharge

(electricity) The act of releasing an accumulated charge.
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Discharge

(medicine) The act of releasing an inpatient from hospital.
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Discharge

(military) The act of releasing a member of the armed forces from service.
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Discharge

(hydrology) The volume of water transported by a river in a certain amount of time, usually in units of m3/s (cubic meters per second).
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Discharge

To relieve of a charge, load, or burden; to empty of a load or cargo; to unburden; to unload; as, to discharge a vessel.
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Discharge

To free of the missile with which anything is charged or loaded; to let go the charge of; as, to discharge a bow, catapult, etc.; especially, said of firearms, - to fire off; to shoot off; also, to relieve from a state of tension, as a Leyden jar.
The galleys also did oftentimes, out of their prows, discharge their great pieces against the city.
Feeling in other cases discharges itself in indirect muscular actions.
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Jan 06, 2024

Discharge

To of something weighing upon or impeding over one, as a debt, claim, obligation, responsibility, accusation, etc.; to absolve; to acquit; to clear.
Discharged of business, void of strife.
In one man's fault discharge another man of his duty.
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Discharge

To relieve of an office or employment; to send away from service; to dismiss.
Discharge the common sortWith pay and thanks.
Grindal . . . was discharged the government of his see.
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Discharge

To release legally from confinement; to set at liberty; as, to discharge a prisoner.
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Discharge

To put forth, or remove, as a charge or burden; to take out, as that with which anything is loaded or filled; as, to discharge a cargo.
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Discharge

To let fly, as a missile; to shoot.
They do discharge their shot of courtesy.
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Discharge

To set aside; to annul; to dismiss.
We say such an order was "discharged on appeal."
The order for Daly's attendance was discharged.
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Jan 06, 2024

Discharge

To throw off the obligation of, as a duty or debt; to relieve one's self of, by fulfilling conditions, performing duty, trust, and the like; hence, to perform or execute, as an office, or part.
Had I a hundred tongues, a wit so largeAs could their hundred offices discharge.
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Discharge

To send away (a creditor) satisfied by payment; to pay one's debt or obligation to.
If he hadThe present money to discharge the Jew.
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Discharge

To give forth; to emit or send out; as, a pipe discharges water; to let fly; to give expression to; to utter; as, to discharge a horrible oath.
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Discharge

To prohibit; to forbid.
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Discharge

To bleach out or to remove or efface, as by a chemical process; as, to discharge the color from a dyed fabric in order to form light figures on a dark ground.
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Discharge

To throw off or deliver a load, charge, or burden; to unload; to emit or give vent to fluid or other contents; as, the water pipe discharges freely.
The cloud, if it were oily or fatty, would not discharge.
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Discharge

The act of discharging; the act of relieving of a charge or load; removal of a load or burden; unloading; as, the discharge of a ship; discharge of a cargo.
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Discharge

Firing off; explosive removal of a charge; explosion; letting off; as, a discharge of arrows, of artillery.
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Discharge

Act of relieving of something which oppresses or weighs upon one, as an obligation, liability, debt, accusation, etc.; acquittance; as, the discharge of a debtor.
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Discharge

Act of removing, or getting rid of, an obligation, liability, etc.; fulfillment, as by the payment of a debt, or the performance of a trust or duty.
Indefatigable in the discharge of business.
Nothing can absolve us from the discharge of those duties.
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Discharge

Release or dismissal from an office, employment, etc.; dismission; as, the discharge of a workman by his employer.
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Discharge

Legal release from confinement; liberation; as, the discharge of a prisoner.
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Discharge

The state of being discharged or relieved of a debt, obligation, office, and the like; acquittal.
Too secure of our dischargeFrom penalty.
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Discharge

That which discharges or releases from an obligation, liability, penalty, etc., as a price of ransom, a legal document.
Death, who sets all free,Hath paid his ransom now and full discharge.
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Discharge

A flowing or issuing out; emission; vent; evacuation; also, that which is discharged or emitted; as, a rapid discharge of water from the pipe.
The hemorrhage being stopped, the next occurrence is a thin serous discharge.
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Discharge

The equalization of a difference of electric potential between two points. The character of the discharge is mostly determined by the nature of the medium through which it takes place, the amount of the difference of potential, and the form of the terminal conductors on which the difference exists. The discharge may be alternating, continuous, brush, connective, disruptive, glow, oscillatory, stratified, etc.
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Discharge

The sudden giving off of energy
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Discharge

The act of venting
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Discharge

A substance that is emitted or released
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Discharge

Any of several bodily processes by which substances go out of the body;
The discharge of pus
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Discharge

Electrical conduction through a gas in an applied electric field
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Discharge

The pouring forth of a fluid
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Discharge

The termination of someone's employment (leaving them free to depart)
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Discharge

A formal written statement of relinquishment
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Discharge

The act of discharging a gun
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Discharge

Complete or carry out;
Discharge one's duties
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Discharge

Pour forth or release;
Discharge liquids
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Discharge

Eliminate (substances) from the body
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Discharge

Free from obligations or duties
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Discharge

Remove the charge from
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Discharge

Go off or discharge;
The gun fired
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Discharge

Pronounce not guilty of criminal charges;
The suspect was cleared of the murder charges
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Discharge

Leave or unload, especially of passengers or cargo;
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Discharge

Cause to go off;
Fire a gun
Fire a bullet
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Discharge

Release from military service
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Discharge

Become empty or void of its content;
The room emptied
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Discharge

Discharge in legal terms means releasing a defendant from a case before trial completion.
The judge ordered a discharge due to procedural errors in the case.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What leads to a discharge in a court case?

Discharge can result from insufficient evidence, procedural errors, or legal deficiencies.
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Jan 26, 2024

Can a discharged individual be retried for the same crime?

Yes, depending on the reason for discharge, a retrial may be possible.
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Jan 26, 2024

Can an acquitted person be tried again for the same offense?

No, due to double jeopardy laws, a person acquitted cannot be tried again for the same offense.
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Jan 26, 2024

What does acquittal signify in a legal context?

Acquittal signifies that the court has found the defendant not guilty of the charges.
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Jan 26, 2024

Is an acquittal based on the evaluation of evidence?

Yes, acquittal is based on the court's assessment that evidence is insufficient for conviction.
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Jan 26, 2024

Does acquittal mean the accused is innocent?

Legally, acquittal means the prosecution couldn't prove guilt; it doesn't always equate to factual innocence.
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Jan 26, 2024

Does a discharge provide the same legal finality as an acquittal?

No, discharge may not provide the same finality as an acquittal, especially if there's a possibility of refiling charges.
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Jan 26, 2024

Are there different types of discharges in legal proceedings?

Yes, discharges can vary depending on the legal system and specific case circumstances.
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Jan 26, 2024

Can a discharge be appealed by the prosecution?

Yes, in some legal systems, the prosecution can appeal a discharge.
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Jan 26, 2024

How does public perception differ between acquittal and discharge?

Acquittal is often seen as a clearer indication of innocence than discharge, which can be viewed as more ambiguous.
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Jan 26, 2024

What role does the judge play in a discharge?

The judge decides on a discharge based on legal and procedural considerations.
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Jan 26, 2024

Are jury trials more likely to lead to an acquittal or a discharge?

Jury trials are more about reaching a verdict (acquittal or conviction), while discharges are often decided by judges.
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Jan 26, 2024

Can discharge occur at any stage of the legal process?

Yes, discharge can happen at various stages, often before a full trial is conducted.
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Jan 26, 2024

What is the impact of an acquittal on a defendant’s record?

An acquittal typically clears the defendant of the charges, positively impacting their record.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 26, 2024

Can new evidence after an acquittal lead to a retrial?

Generally, no; acquittal is final, and double jeopardy laws prevent retrial on the same charges.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 26, 2024

What does an acquittal indicate about the prosecution's case?

It indicates that the prosecution failed to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 26, 2024

Is a discharge always a reflection of the accused’s innocence?

Not necessarily; it may reflect issues with the prosecution’s case rather than the accused's innocence.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 26, 2024

How do defense strategies differ for seeking acquittal vs. discharge?

Defense strategies for acquittal focus on refuting evidence, while for discharge, they often highlight legal or procedural flaws.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 26, 2024

Does an acquittal affect future legal proceedings against the individual?

An acquittal can impact future proceedings, as it establishes a precedent of not guilty for the specific charges.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 26, 2024

Is media coverage of acquittals and discharges typically different?

Yes, acquittals, especially in high-profile cases, tend to receive more extensive media coverage than discharges.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 26, 2024

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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