A criminal offence charge can bring a lot of anxiety and stress into your life. This may include prolonged court processes, possible monetary fines, jail time, and a criminal record in the case that the Crown Prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had committed a crime.
Nonetheless, there’s a diversion program, known as the Alternative Measures Program AMP, designed for persons accused of a minor criminal offence, and have no prior record. Anyone who fulfils these criteria can divert their criminal matter out of the criminal court system.
The primary purpose of introducing AMP was to acknowledge that sometimes, it’s not worthwhile to prosecute minor offenders, mainly in criminal cases in which the criminal sentencing objectives can be fulfilled if the offender completes this program. Although you can avoid court proceedings through AMP, you can still be held responsible for your alleged criminal actions.
Factors Impacting AMP Referral
Only the police or Crown attorney can recommend someone for this program, which can occur either before or after charging you with the alleged criminal offence formally. They will consider certain factors to determine whether or not they should refer you to AMP. These factors include:
- Whether you have any prior criminal record
- The severity of your criminal charge
- Circumstances of your criminal charge
- Your general attitude toward your charge; and,
- What the victim has to say about your charge
After the successful referral to AMP, you must willingly accept responsibility for your criminal charge. After that, you must enter into an Alternative Measures agreement, and abide by specific terms and conditions to complete your program satisfactorily. Conditions of your agreement may vary depending on your criminal case.
Some common conditions include writing an apology letter to the victim, paying a certain amount of money as compensation to the victim, displaying good behaviour, and keeping the peace at all times.
It’s noteworthy here that if as an accused you have agreed to acknowledge the responsibility while entering into the AMP agreement if you, later on, end up in the court, the prosecution cannot use your acknowledgement of responsibility against you as evidence. In other words, the declaration of responsibility for your alleged actions cannot be treated as a guilty plea during court proceedings.
Eligibility Criteria For AMP
Generally, those eligible for AMP will have less than two prior offences on their criminal record, which are fairly dated. For you to qualify for the Alternative Measures Program, you must not have received AMP within the previous two years, and must not have been charged with an indictable offence.
Individuals eligible for AMP are usually charged with a minor summary conviction offence not resulting in significant damage to anyone or anything. This usually consists of summary conviction offences such as:
- Theft under $5,000.00
- Fraud under $5,000.00
- Possessing a stolen property under $5,000.00
- Simple assault offences (not including domestic assault)
- Mischief or miscommunication for obtaining sexual services
In rare cases, individuals charged with rather more severe criminal offences such as a firearm assault, fraud or theft, or possessing stolen property over $5,000.00, can also be admitted to AMP. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that no person charged with domestic violence, can be found eligible for AMP.
Slaferek Callihoo is a highly trustworthy criminal defence law firm based in Edmonton, Alberta. Visit our website to learn about our expert legal services or contact us for instant legal consultation.