The Alternative Measures Program was designed for offenders who are charged with minor offences and want to make amends for their crimes outside of the court system, thereby avoiding a prison sentence and a criminal record.
What is the Alternative Measures Program?
If the Crown believes that it would not be beneficial to prosecute someone through the courts because their offence was minor, and they do not pose a risk to the public, they may be recommended for the Alternative Measures Program. In order to be considered for this program, you must be willing to accept responsibility for your wrongdoing.
The Alternative Measures Program does not mean that you get off ‘scot-free’. Rather, it allows you to take responsibility for your actions. This means that instead of going to prison or getting a criminal record, you will carry out activities that are intended to rehabilitate.
The type of activities you carry out will depend on you and your individual circumstances, but might involve community service, making a donation to charity, compensating those who have incurred damages as a result of your crime, and going to counselling.
Who is suitable for the Alternative Measures Program?
You might be suitable for the Alternative Measures Program if –
- You are an adult
- Your offence was minor
- It is your first offence, or you previously offended a long time ago
- You do not pose a risk to the public
Additionally, to get into the Alternative Measures Program, you must admit responsibility for your actions, and you must apologize.
If you meet the above criteria, the Crown will decide whether it is appropriate to admit you to the Alternative Measures Program. It will make this decision on a case-by-case basis and will consider a wide range of factors, not just those listed above. For example, it might look at whether you have shown remorse for your actions, the sophistication of your crime and the impact suffered by the victim.
What does the Alternative Measures Program involve?
If you are admitted to the Alternative Measures Program, court proceedings against you will be adjourned while you complete the program.
First of all, you must sign a form which states that you accept responsibility for your actions. You will then be given a number of pre-agreed steps to carry out which are intended to repair the harm that has been caused. The tasks assigned will be relevant to you and your offence. For instance, if you smashed someone’s windshield, you might be asked to pay for the repair and write a letter of apology.
If you complete the program, the court case against you will be withdrawn. This means the charges will be dropped and you will not have a criminal record. But if you fail to adhere to your Alternative Measures Program, your case will return to court where a judge will rule on your innocence or guilt. If you are guilty, the judge will decide on an appropriate sentence.
Being accepted into the Alternative Measures Program
If you have committed a minor offence and you are interested in being admitted onto the Alternative Measures Program, our criminal lawyers can help. We can present your case to the Crown, highlighting your suitability and maximizing your chances of being accepted onto the program.
To find out more about how we can help, please do not hesitate to contact us at North Shore Law LLP today.