THE ACCELERATED MISDEMEANOR PROGRAM (AMP):

diversion-signMany counties in Pennsylvania offer diversionary programs to people charged with certain crimes.  Philadelphia is no exception.  In addition to ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition), which is offered by most every county in the state (and will be discussed in another blog post), Philadelphia has numerous other diversionary programs, each with their own requirements.  One such program is the Accelerated Misdemeanor Program (AMP).  The AMP program contains two levels, AMP I and AMP II.

AMP I is available to non-violent first time offenders who are charged with misdemeanor offenses.  Acceptance into this program, as with all diversionary programs, is solely within the discretion of the District Attorney’s Office.  When accepted into the AMP I program, no admission of guilt is entered in the case.  Instead, the case is kept open and active while certain requirements are met.  During this time, participants must complete community service at an approved community service site (anywhere between 12 and 24 hours) and pay court costs, around $200.00 to $225.00.  Participants must also remain arrest free throughout the process.  Generally, participants are required to complete the requirements within 4 to 6 weeks, however a Judge may grant an extension depending on circumstances.  After the requirements are met, participants must submit proof of completion in order for the case to be withdrawn, at which time the case becomes eligible for expungements without opposition from the District Attorney’s Office.  (To learn more about expungements, read our previous blog post.  Just click on the word expungement and you will be sent directly there).  If a participant fails to comply with the requirements, they will be removed from the program and their case will be scheduled for trial.

AMP II may be available to people who have a limited number of non-violent misdemeanor convictions.  Candidates are offered admission into the Section 17 or Section 18 programs, which also come without entering a plea, or an admission of guilt.  Participants in AMP II are required to do either community service, somewhere between 24 and 48 hours, or a drug or alcohol dependency treatment program, and pay court costs.  They must also remain arrest free throughout.  Participants will receive an initial screening which determines if they are in need of dependency treatment.  The length of this program varies with each person.  It will be determined by compliance with treatment programs and negative drug screens.  If you are found not to be dependent, then the program requirements can be settled much quicker, not unlike AMP I, with completion of the Community Service requirements.  Unlike AMP I however, if a person is convicted of a new crime or fails to fulfill the requirements of the program, there will be a finding of guilt or a violation of probation and the participant may be sentenced to a new term of probation or even time in jail.  Cases that are handled via the Section 17 or 18 programs may be eligible for expungement depending on the participant’s criminal history.

Is the AMP program right for you?  It may be.  If a person has little or no criminal history, or a substance abuse problem, it can be an excellent way to get treatment and have your case dismissed and expunged.  However, you should not accept AMP if you want to fight the charges.  With all the different options and the variety of defenses that may be available to fight the government’s version of events, it is important to discuss any charges with a competent lawyer so that you can receive the best possible outcome.

If you or someone you know has been arrested, you need to hire an experienced attorney NOW.  At DiMuzio Zerounian, LLC we have the experience and the knowledge to guide you through all aspects of this serious and very trying process.  Call our offices for a free consultation 267.479.4044.

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