LATEST: Teen Mom AMBER PORTWOOD has been arrested on felony assault charges BUT she claims MTV producers PAID her to pummel former fiance Gary Shirley on the show – and she’ll use that as a defense, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.

Amber was charged yesterday with two felony counts of domestic battery, one felony count of neglect of a dependent, and one misdemeanor count of domestic battery. Amber faces three years behind bars and up to $10,000 in fines if convicted on all charges. 

The 20-year-old single mother was  charged after she was shown kicking and punching Gary in an ep that aired in September. Amber and Gary’s 2-year-old daughter, Leah, was present during two of the violent attacks.

But Amber insists the violence was all a ruse and that show execs gave her an extra $1,000 to "get physical" with her ex during filming because they "wanted more drama," says an insider.

"Amber knows she needs a good defense, and reality show producers are known to stage scenes, so she thinks it’s believable.

"She says that the producers were concerned because they don’t get much drama from the other moms.

"They told her that she and Gary were the most popular couple on the show and that they would pay her extra to provoke a fight. Amber says Gary didn’t know about it because they wanted a ‘spontaneous’ reaction from him."

Amber and Gary officially split in early November, shortly before she was charged with the abuse.

Indiana Department of Child Protective Services temporarily granted Gary full custody of Leah after the charges were filed, but have since returned her to Amber, who is closely monitored by DCS. In late November, Leah was officially deemed a ward of the state. After six months of monitoring by DCS, Amber can file for custody again.

The ENQUIRER recently reported that "Teen Mom" producers often set up scenarios they believe will instigate drama. One insider who has witnessed the show being filmed told us that "the producers lead (the cast) to believe they can do whatever they want without repercussion because they are stars."

When approached by The ENQUIRER, MTV refused to comment on our story.

Now, says the insider, Amber is so freaked out about a possible jail sentence that she’s willing to do whatever it takes to beat the charges.

"She can’t believe MTV would put her in this position," added the insider.

 "It will negatively affect her for the rest of her life if she ends up having felonies on her record."

  On 12/27/10, Amber was booked by Indiana cops on assault charges after an arrest warrant was filed for her capture.