What is the Accelerated Misdemeanor Program – Tier 1?

The Philadelphia Municipal Courts have been very progressive in how they manage the criminal justice system. The administration has been responsible for a host of initiatives with local partners to increase efficiencies. The Philadelphia County Court System currently has various diversionary and alternative sentencing programs in place. These include a Treatment Court, Veteran Court, Domestic Violence Diversion Program, Accelerated Misdemeanor Program, and others.

Levels of Criminal Offenses in Pennsylvania

 

Maximum Incarceration

Maximum Fine

First-Degree Felony

20 years

$25,000

Second-Degree Felony

10 years

$25,000

Third-Degree Felony

Seven years

$15,000

First-Degree Misdemeanor

Five years

$10,000

Second-Degree Misdemeanor

Two years

$5,000

Third-Degree Misdemeanor

One year

$2,000

Summary Offense

90 days

$300

Accelerated Misdemeanor Program (AMP)

The AMP program is designed to offer lower-level criminal offenders a “second chance.” The program is separated into Tier 1 and Tier 2 based on the classification of the offender. Cases are transferred out of the traditional Municipal Court system. A study completed in 2017 found that the most common criminal offenses that are handled in AMP are “possession of a controlled substance, retail theft, and prostitution.”

Eligibility and Disposition for AMP Tier 1

The program accepts those charged with first-time offenses that are non-violent misdemeanors. The District Attorney's Office is responsible for assessing eligibility. The criminal proceedings are paused in the pre-trial phase. The prosecutor may withdraw the charges for those who complete the program.

In 2017, roughly 4,573 cases in Philadelphia were diverted to the AMP program. This same year, there were nearly 20,000 hours of community service performed.

The program requires the offender to complete between 12 and 18 hours of community service. The court has more than 100 approved organizations where community service may be performed. The offender must also pay court costs. These requirements must be completed within five weeks.

The offenders may have their community service hours completed and court costs paid in less than five weeks. A judge may allow for an extension of time when necessary if more than half of the requirements have been completed. The court establishes a date for the offender to appear after the five weeks have elapsed. No court appearance is required if the prosecutor receives verification that the requirements have been completed five days before the court date.

Failure to Comply

Those who fail to complete the requirements or those who are arrested for other criminal charges will be removed from the AMP program. The criminal proceedings will resume in court for these individuals. Those who do complete the program will have their charges expunged. Expungement removes all information regarding the offense from the record.

AMP Tier 2

There is also a Tier 2 of the AMP program. Those who are not first-time offenders may qualify for this program. In addition to performing community service and paying court costs, offenders may also complete a treatment program for drug and/or alcohol abuse. Not all of those who complete the Tier 2 program is eligible for expungement.

Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer

Are you facing allegations of committing a criminal offense? Attorney Joseph D. Lento has been aggressively representing clients for many years. He will closely review the evidence and circumstances and construct a strategy for your defense. For a complimentary case consultation, contact the office today at (888) 535-3686.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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