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Holmes Youthful Trainee Act

Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) Results in No Criminal History

Michigan’s HYTA statute provides young adult offenders (ages 18 but before age 26) with an opportunity to keep a criminal offense, including serious felonies, off their permanent criminal record. It allows them to walk away from their case without a criminal record. Under the statue, Michigan judges accept a misdemeanor felony plea but do not enter a conviction.

Michigan’s HYTA Statute Excerpt - Section 762.11
Beginning October 1, 2021, if an individual pleads guilty to a criminal offense, committed on or after the individual's eighteenth birthday but before his or her twenty-sixth 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. If the offense was committed on or after the individual's twenty-first birthday but before his or her twenty-sixth birthday, the individual must not be assigned to youthful trainee status without the consent of the prosecuting attorney.

HYTA is a Privilege, Not a Right
The judge makes the final decision on whether the defendant deserves the privilege of HYTA. In deciding whether to grant HYTA status, the judge must consider many factors such as the protection of society, punishment of the offender, deterrence from further criminality by the offender, and rehabilitation. The analysis is complex, and it is vital that a youthful offender has experienced legal representation to convince the judge that he/she is a good candidate for the program and should be allowed to participate.

in order to convince the prosecutor and judge that a defendant is deserving of HYTA, a criminal defense attorney should compile details about their client that supports the granting of HYTA. Such information includes details about the client’s education, home life, mental health, history of drug/alcohol abuse, work history, religious affiliations, and activities, and record of community service and volunteerism. The information should be gathered before asking the court (judge) to award HYTA and asking the prosecutor for their concurrence on granting HYTA..

What are the HYTA Qualification Requirements?

  • Must enter a guilty plea (the plea cannot be “no-contest”)
  • Age Qualification (at the time of the offense)
    • The law permits HYTA to apply to young offenders younger than 26 years old and as young as 18 at the time of the felony or misdemeanor offense.
    • Before age 21 – Consent of prosecution is not required
    • If the offense was committed on or after the individual's twenty-first birthday but before his or her twenty-sixth birthday, the individual can not be assigned to youthful trainee status without the consent of the prosecuting attorney.
  • Minimal or No Criminal History (depends on the sentencing judge)
  • Victim Consultation with the Prosecutor
    • While there must be a victim consultation with the prosecutor, in certain cases, a judge can sentence a youthful offender to HYTA status over the victim’s objections. The prosecutor can also consent even if the victim disapproves. The type of crimes that require the victim consultation are cases where a plea bargain results in reduced charges and the original charge was a life offense, major controlled substance offenses, a traffic crimes, or criminal sexual conduct crimes.
  • Excluded Offenses*
    • Offenses for which the maximum penalty is imprisonment for life.
    • Major controlled substance offense.
    • Traffic offense (felony or misdemeanor)
    • Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree
    • Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree
    • Conspiracy to Commit Either CSC 1st degree or CSC 2nd degree
    • Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree: Person 13 thru 15

*If you are charged with an ineligible offense, talk to an attorney about the possibility of negotiating a plea deal for a lower offense that qualifies for HYTA status.

Factors that make it harder to get get HYTA

  • Prior juvenile or adult criminal history.
  • History of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Record of incorrigibility.
  • Past instances of school discipline.
  • An offense involving dishonesty or theft, assaultive behavior, drug/alcohol use, sexual conduct, or obstruction of the police or government.

A HYTA Sentence is Referred to as Probation
If HYTA is granted, the defendant is sentenced to serve a term of probation. The terms and conditions of a HYTA probation may be the same as probation ordered for defendants without youthful offender status.

The court may require the individual to maintain employment or attend school, undergo drug/alcohol testing and therapy, obtain mental health counseling, perform community service, and more. If the individual is not employed or attending school, the individual may be required to actively seek employment or register for school. The judge may also order electronic monitoring (tether).

If the offender completes their probationary sentence under HYTA, they will not have a public conviction or criminal record.

Having an aggressive criminal defense attorney well versed in the intricacies of the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act can ensure that the freedom and future of young people are fully protected.

More About HYTA
Young adults can have poor impulse control that leads them to make mistakes that have the potential to destroy their lives. With HYTA, young adults who committed crimes are given a second chance to become productive members of society.

A conviction can make it hard to find gainful employment. Employers are generally permitted to use criminal records in hiring decisions. A criminal conviction results in a lifetime ban on gun ownership. A convicted felon cannot own a business that sells and serves liquor. Working in a casino that has a gaming license is also on the list of things not allowed for felons.

If a person is convicted and imprisoned, their future becomes more challenging than that of a person who was convicted and placed on probation. When people are imprisoned, they often leave prison with no money, no job and no place to live. As a result, approximately two-thirds of felons released from prison will commit crimes and return to prison.

HYTA is not guaranteed and may be rejected by the court. Hiring an attorney that is well versed in the intricacies of the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act and has excellent skills dealing with local judges, police and prosecutors is vital for those that want the best outcome the legal system provides.

About Carl Jordan
Attorney Carl Jordan who serves Metro Detroit is experienced in successfully securing HYTA status. His experience can mean the difference between getting HYTA or winding up with a conviction. He will carefully evaluate your circumstances and recommend the next steps you should take. Call him at 248 358-6647 for a free consultation.