HYTA is an acronym for the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. Anyone who is charged with a criminal offense wants to keep his or her criminal record clean. We’ve all heard about people applying for jobs, school, public benefits or fighting over custody and having something they did in the past surface and keep them from moving forward. The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA), helps young people keep a youthful mistake off their record, so they don’t have to worry about one lapse of judgment ruining their future. Essentially, a youthful offender has the opportunity to get a second chance.
HYTA Basic Outline of Requirements
HYTA is available to someone who commits a crime after his or her 17th birthday, but before the 21st. Most cases can be taken under advisement pursuant to HYTA, however “Capital Offenses” (like murder), some Criminal Sexual Conduct charges, major controlled substance charges (drug delivery) and traffic offenses (drunk driving, driving while licenses suspended) are excluded. For youthful offenders between the ages of 21 and 24, HYTA may still be available if the prosecutor consents. It takes an experienced and persuasive defense lawyer to persuade many prosecutors to allow a defendant to have this opportunity.
Is HYTA a program?
No, HYTA is not a program per se. If a youthful Michigan Criminal Defendant is granted HYTA status for a misdemeanor or felony, the judge will place that defendant on a term of probation. Probation can be as long as 3 years. Most of the time the terms of the probation include not picking up any more charges, drug or alcohol testing, community service and rehabilitative programs such as AA or NA.
If a defendant is on HYTA probation and a probation violation is filed, this does not mean that HYTA will be automatically be revoked. Every case is different and whether HYTA is revoked for a violation of probation is within the discretion of the sentencing judge. In these circumstances having a HYTA defense attorney give his or her best effort may save HYTA for a violating defendant.
Is HYTA easy to get if a defendant qualifies?
Many judges are reluctant to give a defendant HYTA status. Even though HYTA is available for misdemeanor and felony charges, judges are frequently hesitant to grant that status to those charged with felony crimes. Preventing a criminal conviction from appearing on a criminal history has to be a top priority and everything possible needs to be done to make sure HYTA is granted. Because the consequences to a youthful person of having to go forward in life saddled with a criminal history are so severe, expert criminal defense representing should be consulted in these cases. Hiring a retained attorney is expensive; getting a second chance at a crime free life is priceless.
What if HYTA probation is successfully completed?
Once you successfully complete your probation, the judge dismisses all charges. Any public record of the case is sealed. No conviction is ever entered. No one will know from a search of public criminal history that there was a charge, plea or sentence.
Can HYTA be granted more than once?
HYTA is usually a one-time thing; however, there is no limitation to the number of times a defendant can be granted HYTA, it is at the discretion of the judge. Most judges will be reluctant to give HYTA status more than one time. If a defendant is charged with a second or subsequent offense and is requesting HYTA, his or her criminal defense lawyer better be prepared to present a highly compelling reason.
Holmes Youthful Training Act (HYTA) – MCL 762.11
762.11. Criminal offense by individual between ages 17 and 20; assignment to status of youthful trainee; exceptions; definitions.
Sec. 11. (1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3), if an individual pleads guilty to a criminal offense, committed on or after the individual’s seventeenth birthday but before his or her twenty-first birthday, the court of record having jurisdiction of the criminal offense may, without entering a judgment of conviction and with the consent of that individual, consider and assign that individual to the status of youthful trainee. (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to any of the following: (a) A felony for which the maximum penalty is imprisonment for life. (b) A major controlled substance offense. (c) A traffic offense. (d) A violation, attempted violation, or conspiracy to violate section 520b, 520c, 520d, or 520e of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.520b, 750.520c, 750.520d, and 750.520e, other than section 520d(1)(a) or 520e(1)(a) of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.520d and 750.520e. (e) A violation, attempted violation, or conspiracy to violate section 520g of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.520g, with the intent to commit a violation of section 520b, 520c, 520d, or 520e of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.520b, 750.520c, 750.520d, and 750.520e, other than section 520d(1)(a) or 520e(1)(a) of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.520d and 750.520e. (3) The court shall not assign an individual to the status of youthful trainee if any of the following apply: (a) The individual was previously convicted of or adjudicated for a listed offense for which registration is required under the sex offenders registration act, 1994 PA 295, MCL 28.721 to 28.732. (b) If the individual is charged with a listed offense for which registration is required under the sex offenders registration act, 1994 PA 295, MCL 28.721 to 28.732, the individual fails to carry the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that he or she is not likely to engage in further listed offenses. (c) The court determines that the offense involved any of the following: i) A factor set forth in section 520b(1)(a) to (h) of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.520b. (ii) A factor set forth in section 520c(1)(a) to (l) of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.520c. (iii) A factor set forth in section 520d(1)(b) to (e) of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.520d. (iv) A factor set forth in section 520e(1)(b) to (f) of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.520e. (4) As used in this section: (a) “Listed offense” means that term as defined in section 2 of the sex offenders registration act, 1994 PA 295, MCL 28.722. (b) “Traffic offense” means a violation of the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.1 to 257.923, or a violation of a local ordinance substantially corresponding to that act, that involves the operation of a vehicle and, at the time of the violation, is a felony or a misdemeanor. MCLS 762.11
Who can help get HYTA for a defendant?
The Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are passionate about helping youthful offenders get a second chance at living a conviction free life. We have dedicated countless hours to developing strategies and methods for maximizing a youthful client’s chances of receiving HYTA status. We will do whatever is necessary to get a client’s plea taken under advisement and to get the case dismissed. We are not afraid to win! You can call for a free consultation to (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and a highly experienced HYTA defense lawyer will contact you.