How to accept responsibility for your actions without getting a criminal record
Across Ontario, the Alternative Measures Program (AMP for short) is referred to by a number of different titles and short forms, which can be confusing. However the program’s basic components remain the same.
AMP is a way for you to accept responsibility for your actions without being found guilty of anything. In effect, the program ensures that you avoid a conviction by diverting the matter out of the criminal justice system. This means that you will not receive a criminal record for the offence, and you will be able to honestly say that you have never been found guilty nor convicted.
A requirement of AMP is that the accused person accepts responsibility for the offence. This does not mean you agree with everything that the Crown is alleging, but that you accept responsibility for what happened. According to the provisions of the Criminal Code (s. 717), this information cannot, and will not be used against you for any purpose, except if you re-offend.
The Crown is the gatekeeper of the program, and will often need to be convinced that AMP is the most appropriate solution. If the Crown consents to AMP, one of our lawyers will attend court and speak to a judge in court and request that you be given enough time to complete your community service. It’s important to realize that any conditions the court has imposed on you continue to be in effect during this period. Once you have completed the community service we will provide confirmation to the Crown, and then go in front of a judge again to have your charge withdrawn. It is your choice which non-profit you wish to do community service for, but you should always make sure it’s a reputable registered charitable organization that keeps proper records and timesheets of your attendance.
It is important to understand that only some people are eligible for AMP, largely based on their record and on the offence(s) they are alleged to have committed. Section 717 of the Criminal Code gives us some information on who is eligible for AMP. First offenders are eligible for AMP for most summary conviction offences and even some indictable offences. Second offenders may be eligible if two years have passed since their last conviction or AMP community service. AMP is generally not available for serious violent offences, offences using a firearm, domestic violence, criminal harassment, or offences where the victim is a child. AMP is available for minor Federal charges as well, such as possession of a controlled substance.
Contact us today if you think you may be eligible for AMP. We will make every effort to convince the Crown on your behalf that you are good fit for the program.
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