How can I get my charges diverted to the alternative measures program?
If you are interested in resolving your charges by completing the alternative measures program, you will first need to be admitted to AMP by the Crown Prosecutor. While a large number of alternative measure referrals come directly from the police, it is ultimately the Crown who will decide whether a person is let into the program or not. When considering whether you should receive alternative measures, the Crown will consider your particular circumstances and decide whether you would be a good fit for the program. The types of things that the Crown will look at generally includes:
- The nature and circumstances of the offence;
- Your prior convictions if you have any, how long ago the offences happened, and the nature of the offences;
- Whether you have received AMP in the past, how long ago you received AMP, and whether you successfully completed the program;
- Whether you show remorse or regret for committing the offence;
- Whether allowing you to complete the program is in the interest of public safety; and,
- What actions you have taken to rehabilitate yourself after the offence, if any.
When looking at the circumstances of your offence, the Crown will also look for aggravating factors that may actually preclude you from being accepted to the program. The types of factors that will bar you from the program include things such as whether you used or threatened to use a weapon when committing the offence, the seriousness of the impact on the victim, how sophisticated and planned out the offence was, and the degree of harm that was incurred by the victims or that could have been incurred by potential victims.
Note that the considerations outlined above are certainly not exhaustive, and the Crown can and will look at a host of other factors when determining your eligibility to the program. As there are a host of factors that can influence you admission to the program, if you are interested in resolving your matter through AMP it is in your best interests to seek the assistance of one of our criminal defence lawyers. We have ample experience in conducting effective resolution discussions with the Crown, and we know how to best present an offender’s case in order to maximize his or her chances of being diverted to AMP.
Once the Crown has decided to admit you to alternative measures, you will need to sign a form which states that you are accepting responsibility for the offence. Note, this is not the same as pleading guilty, and you will not receive a criminal conviction by accepting responsibility for the offence. However, accepting responsibility is a non-negotiable requirement for admission to the program. If you are unwilling to accept responsibility for the offence, or if you indicate that you would like your matter resolved in court, you will not be accepted to alternative measures. If you are admitted to alternative measures, your matter will be spoken to in court and will be adjourned for several months to allow you to complete the program. On the return date, if the Crown has received proof that you successfully completed the program, the charges against you will be withdrawn.
Once you have been admitted to alternative measures, you will have to complete certain activities that are intended to assist with your rehabilitation. Typically, the types of activities that can be a part of the program include:
- Community service;
- Writing an apology letter to those affected by the offence;
- Restitution to someone who had property damaged as a result of the offence;
- Donation to a charity;
- Counselling; or,
- Other conditions that will appropriately facilitate your rehabilitation.
Once you finish the program, the charges against you will be completely withdrawn. However, if you fail to successfully complete the program, your charges will be referred back to the Crown Prosecutor and you can expect that the Crown will seek your full conviction.
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