One aspect of criminal law is the Holmes Youthful Training Act which is known as HYTA or YTA. HYTA is critical in the protection of the future of young criminal defendants. HYTA gives a youthful offender (ages 17 to 23) a chance to keep a criminal offense, including felonies, off of his or her record and gives a youthful offender an amazing opportunity to protect their future. When we look at HYTA, we see legislation that has changed dramatically in the last 4 years.
A person who seeks HYTA is required to formally plea guilty to the offense or offenses which are being considered for HYTA status. However, once the court accepts someone on HYTA status, the court does not enter a judgment of conviction and Michigan State Police records become closed to the public view. It is critical to understand that bond can be revoked when pleading to HYTA even if there is a sentencing agreement for no upfront jail time. If given HYTA, the results are as follows: The court does not enter a judgment of conviction; the record is sealed, and the case is dismissed upon compliance of probation.
In Michigan, a person is charged as an adult for criminal offenses that occur at age 17 and older. Many other states consider 18 the age of majority but in our state, 17 equates to an adult criminal charge and potential conviction. Another fact is often lost amongst people in Michigan that the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 16 depending upon several factors and this can play a heavy role in the application of HYTA. However, juvenile offenses in Michigan are dealt with differently and are not to be confused with HYTA. The dismissal of a criminal offense under HYTA carries the same power as having a crime expunged. Dismissals according to HYTA means that the offender avoids the stigma and public record of a criminal conviction.
Subject to some exceptions, HYTA is available for most felonies and misdemeanors but the granting of HYTA is discretionary and the geography plays a role in this privilege. The criminal defense lawyer should be prepared with an HYTA petition and a sentencing memorandum when asking the court for HYTA. The way to approach the request in Shiawassee is far different than the way to approach the issue in Washtenaw, Wayne or Jackson County. Knowing your legal geography between what needs to be presented in Eaton County as opposed to an Ingham County prosecution can be the difference between protecting your client or setting your client up for failure. HYTA is extremely valuable because if someone is applying for a job, applying to college, or filling out an employment application, they would be able to exclude any offenses dismissed in compliance with HYTA.How Does Someone get HYTA Status?
HYTA status is not guaranteed and may be accepted or rejected in the judge’s discretion. The judge is the most important person in the request, but the prosecutor and the probation officer play a vital role in the request.
HYTA is obtained by an attorney negotiating this favorable disposition with the prosecutor and petitioning the court to accept the same. It is in the offender’s best interest to retain an attorney to fight for the most favorable disposition and obtain HYTA status for them.
When an offender is granted HYTA status they may still be facing probation, random drug and alcohol testing, counseling, and restitution payments. A judge may order the offender who was granted HYTA to pay restitution in cases that involved property damage or an economic crime. HYTA can also lead to jail or HYTA prison. So, while obtaining HYTA is a tremendous accomplishment, it is not the end of the issue.Will I Still Have a Public Record if I am Awarded HYTA?
When an offender is granted HYTA status upon the judge’s discretion, the offender’s record will be sealed and the case will be deemed dismissed after a set period of time established by the court. The benefit of HYTA is one of the most valued aspects of the criminal defendant. The application of HYTA will allow the young defendant the opportunity to preserve their future.
HYTA provides the offender protections that are limited but the offender’s record will be maintained by the court that granted HYTA, the FBI and Michigan State Police department. Under Michigan law, an offender’s HYTA records may be given to certain entities that otherwise would not be available to the public
HYTA will not be offered for an offender who has been charged with a DUI, traffic offense or an offense that carries a life sentence regardless if the offender meets the qualifications for HYTA status. HYTA is available for most criminal offenses including felonies and misdemeanors. HYTA is available for certain aspects of CSC 3 but not for CSC 1. This must be addressed properly in the HYTA Petition.Here are Some Other Pertinent Facts About HYTA:
Requesting for HYTA on multiple occasions can make the process far more difficult for an individual seeking HYTA.
HYTA is not offered for juvenile offenders however, the juvenile offender may still be eligible for something similar to HYTA status that has the same impact that HYTA would provide the offender.
It will be up to the judge’s discretion and the consent of the prosecutor to allow HYTA to be awarded to an offender who is between 17 and 20 years old.
For offenders who are between the ages of 21 to 23, the prosecutor must consent to awarding HYTA status to the offender.
HYTA is awarded or rejected based upon the discretion of the presiding judge.
An offender who has been awarded HYTA status may still be sentenced to jail time or a HYTA prison, obtain counseling, or be placed on probation.