In Michigan, pursuant to MCL 762.11 and MCL 762.13, individuals from the age of 17 until their 21st birthday who are convicted of a crime may be eligible for Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) to avoid a public record of conviction. For individuals that are at least 21 years old, but you’re than 24 years old, HYTA can be obtained with the consent of the prosecutor and the Court. In this manner, the convicted individual can report to employers and colleges that they do not have a criminal record. An assignment of HYTA shall not be deemed a conviction of a crime and such person shall suffer no civil disability, right or privilege following his or her release from such status because of such assignment as a youthful trainee. The rationale behind HYTA is that young persons often have issues with immaturity and flawed judgment, and in some instances should be given a second chance so the conviction will not hurt them in the future.
All proceedings relative to the sentence imposed under HYTA are closed from public inspection. The records area available to the Courts, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Social Services, the criminal defense attorney, and law enforcement in the performance of their duties. The victim of the crime also is not precluded from receiving notice, information, and records that otherwise are closed to public inspection (see MCL 780.752a, MCL 780.781a, MCL 780.811b).
For any case in which HYTA might be applicable it is important to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer such as attorney Daniel Hilf. This is something that should not be left to chance or second rate legal representation. It is too important.
A conviction under HYTA is considered for Michigan Sentence Guideline purposes if the individual gets into trouble in the future unless the conviction is barred under the 10 year gap rule. However, it is not considered for purposes of habitual offender status if the individual who successfully completes a HYTA sentence is charged with a crime in the future. It is also important to know that if you are not a citizen of the United States and you receive HYTA status after pleading guilty to an offense, that conviction (or even admitting to a crime) can still be considered against you for immigration purposes including deportation. If you are not a citizen and you have a criminal law issue, Hilf & Hilf, PLC has expert attorneys in both immigration and criminal law to assist you.
Under HYTA, the sentencing Judge is not required to impose a sentence within sentencing guidelines. The sentencing Judge has the option of imposing a sentence of probation, probation with conditions (for example, drug treatment), probation with conditions after a period of incarceration in jail, SAI boot camp, or a prison term of up to 3 years. If a prison sentence is imposed under HYTA it is a flat sentence (for example: 1 year in the Michigan Department of Corrections), rather than an indeterminate sentence (for example: 1 to 15 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections). This can be extremely beneficial if the individual is charged with an offense such as Home Invasion 1st Degree with guidelines that would otherwise mean a prison sentence. The individual would not be at the mercy of the Michigan parole board if a flat prison sentence was imposed. Furthermore, an individual charged with felony firearm (use of a firearm in the commission of a felony) can avoid the mandatory prison sentence if they receive HYTA status for the conviction.
Another advantage of HYTA is that the individual can avoid drivers license sanctions which some non traffic convictions sometimes impose. For example, an individual with no prior record who is convicted of Delivery or Manufacture of Marijuana faces a 6 month suspension of driving privileges with a restricted license allowed after 30 days. Under HYTA this driving sanction through the Michigan Secretary of State is avoided.
Individuals not eligible for HYTA include person that are convicted of: a felony that carries a maximum punishment of life in prison (for example: Armed Robbery, 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, Carjacking); a major controlled substance offense (for example: Delivery of Heroin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Ecstasy; Possession with Intent to Deliver Heroin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Ecstasy); OR a traffic offense (for example: drunk driving).
In order to be placed on HYTA status the individual must plead guilty. An individual is technically ineligible for HYTA if he or she is found guilty after a trial or if he or she tenders a plea of no contest. The individual also must consent to being placed on Holmes Youthful Trainee Status. Although rare, a sentencing Judge is not prohibited to giving HYTA status to an individual with prior convictions, prior HYTA status, prior 7411 status, prior 769.4a status, or any other prior advisory sentence status.
If the individual is convicted of violation of probation, the Court has the discretion to revoke the previously granted HYTA status. If HYTA is revoked the conviction becomes public. Furthermore, the individual is technically subject to his or her original sentencing conditions – the original sentence guidelines would technically apply; mandatory sentencing would apply (for example, the sentencing Judge would have to impose the 2 year mandatory prison sentence for felony firearm first offense if HYTA is revoked); a DNA test would be ordered; license sanctions would be imposed if required by statute due to the original conviction.
If you are not guilty of the allegation, and wish to contest it in Court, you should hire an experienced criminal lawyer to defend you. HYTA is meant for individuals who are guilty of the charged offense, and who want to plead guilty. Do not compromise yourself if you are innocent.
Individuals in criminal trouble for a new offense, or for a violation of probation, who can afford to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer should do so. Contact Hilf & Hilf, PLC for excellent legal representation for any of your criminal law issues.