Michigan’s Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA)
What is Michigan’s Holmes Youthful Trainee Act / HYTA?
Michigan’s Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, commonly referred to as HYTA or simply YTA, is a state law plea-advisory program which allows youthful offenders facing criminal convictions to avoid permanent marks on their records. It is similar to a diversion, delayed, or deferred sentence in that upon successful completion of the sentence imposed by the Court, there will be no public record of the conviction. HYTA was originally enacted with the thought and understanding that we should not punish young offenders who lack the maturity and understanding of adults for committing isolated, criminal offenses. Instead, we should offer a second chance and help them move forward in life.
Who is Eligible for Michigan’s Holmes Youthful Trainee Act / HYTA?
In order to be eligible to seek sentencing under HYTA, an offender must be a certain age when the offense was committed, the crime must be of certain type, and a guilty plea must be entered with the Court (MCL 262.11).
- Age: HYTA is only available to offenders who have committed crimes on or after their 17th birthday but before their 21st HYTA can only be available to an older offender that pleads guilty to a crime which took place when he or she was between 17 and 24 years of age.
- Crime: HYTA is available for most criminal misdemeanor and felony crimes. However, it is not available for felony offenses that carry a maximum sentence of life in prison, major controlled substances offenses, or traffic offenses.
- Guilty Plea: HYTA is only available to offenders who plead guilty. This means the offender cannot contest the charges at trial, but must admit responsibility.
When determining whether HYTA is appropriate, the presiding judge will review several factors including the offense itself, the circumstances surrounding the offense, and the offender’s criminal, educational, and employment history. HYTA is generally available to first time offenders. However, the law does not limit the number of times an offender can receive HYTA.
Michigan’s Holmes Youthful Trainee Act / HYTA and the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA)
HYTA provides a safety net for young offenders who have been convicted of certain sex crimes that would otherwise require registration on the sex offender list. While HYTA is available for certain sex offenses, it is not available for:
- Criminal Sexual Conduct- 1st Degree;
- Criminal Sexual Conduct- 2nd Degree;
- Criminal Sexual Conduct that was committed by force;
- Where the defendant was aware that the victim was mentally incapable of consent, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless; and
- Criminal sexual conduct involving a victim under the age of 13.
How Does Michigan’s Holmes Youthful Trainee Act / HYTA Work?
HYTA is obtained by an attorney negotiating with the prosecutor and then asking the court to accept. It is not guaranteed and may be accepted or rejected by the judge. To be considered for HYTA, an offender is required to formally plead guilty to the offense or offenses committed. If HYTA is granted, he or she will be placed on probation for up to 3 years with the court. Sentencing may include probation, fines, and community service. A period of incarceration may also be included if the crime committed is severe. If the probationary period is successfully completed, the conviction is not entered and the case will be sealed. This means that it cannot be obtained or viewed by the public and most business entities. The offender will be discharged and the case will be dismissed. If the terms and conditions of probation are not completed, HYTA status will be revoked and the conviction will be entered onto the offender’s criminal history.
A criminal conviction may have long-lasting repercussions on future employment, educational, and financial opportunities. If your teen has been charged with a criminal misdemeanor or felony offense or for more information on how we can help, call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.