The Criminal Code allows for a number of different options once a person is charged with a criminal offence. One of the best options, for an accused person, is the Alternative Measure Program, or AMP.
The Alternative Measures Program is a program that is authorized by the Prosecutors’ office and most often involves an accused person performing some community service hours (or sometimes making a financial donation and / or writing a letter of apology), at the completion of which the criminal charge(s) is completely withdrawn, resulting in absolutely no criminal record for the person charged with an offence.
Typically, the Crown Prosecutor will allow an accused person to enter into the Alternative Measures Program if: 1) the person is charged with fairly minor offences (e.g. shoplifting of small amounts; minor assault charges; possession of very small amounts of a drug) and 2) the person has no previous criminal convictions and has not previously participated in the Alternative Measures program.
The advantages for an accused person are many, with the outcome of there being no criminal convictions being the greatest benefit. If you’ve been charged with an offence, there is no guarantee the Crown Prosecutor will offer Alternative Measures as a possible resolution and you should always consider speaking with a Criminal Defence Lawyer before you make any final decisions.