Background for HYTA
The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, or HYTA, is a program for youth offenders charged with misdemeanors and certain felonies. Oftentimes young people get charged with an offense by making a mistake or uneducated decision and it later affects their ability to get jobs or get into college. HYTA helps to eliminate the criminal records of youthful offenders by sealing them to the public and not entering a conviction if a time of probation is successfully completed. HYTA gives youth offenders a fresh start in the criminal justice system. With HTYA status, sex offender registry is also not required.
On August 18, 2015, some new changes to HYTA went into effect, which end up further benefiting youthful offenders.
Changes to the Law
The first in a series of changes is that the age range to be eligible for HYTA has been increased from 17 to 21 years old to 17 to 23 years old. Previously, if an individual pleaded guilty to a criminal offense committed on or after his or her 17th birthday but before his or her 21st birthday, the court could have, without entering a judgment of conviction and with the individual’s consent, consider and assign that individual to youthful trainee status. With the current changes, the courts can grant an individual HYTA status if an offense is committed after his or her 17th birthday but before the individual's 24th birthday, however, if the charge occurs after the individual's 21st birthday the court cannot grant HYTA without the consent of the prosecutor.
Another change to the law could require a youth offender assigned to HYTA status to maintain employment or to attend a high school, high school equivalency program, community college, college, university, or trade school if ordered to do so by a court. If the person were not employed or attending school, he or she could be required to actively seek employment or entry into school.
Further, changes were made to MCL 762.12, which gives courts authority to terminate or revoke a youth offender's HYTA status. Previously this statute stated that a court could, at its discretion, terminate an individual's HYTA status or revoke the status of the individual at any time. Though the statute retains this provision, another provision was added to require courts to revoke an individual's HYTA status if he or she pleads guilty to or is convicted of one of the following:
- A felony for which the maximum penalty is imprisonment for life;
- A major controlled substance offense;
- A violation, attempted violation, or conspiracy to violate;
- Felonious assault;
- Assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder;
- Assault with intent to rob and steal, unarmed;
- Home invasion, 1st-3rd degrees;
- Possession of firearm or distribution of ammunition by person convicted of felony;
- Carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon with unlawful intent;
- Carrying a concealed weapon;
- Unlawful possession of a pistol;
- Possession of firearm during commission of a felony;
- Criminal sexual conduct in the 1st-4th degrees (other than 3rd-degree CSC with a victim at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age and 4th-degree CSC with a victim at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age and the actor is 5 years or more years older than the victim);
- Using force or violence during commission of a larceny;
- A violation, attempted violation, or conspiracy to violate the prohibition on assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct (other than 3rd-degree CSC with a victim at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age and 4th-degree CSC with a victim at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age and the actor is 5 or more years older than the victim).
The Smith Blythe, PC is familiar with the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, and it's changes. Our office is the most familiar with the HYTA laws as they relate to sex crimes and has been successful in getting youthful defendants HYTA status. If you or a loved one is facing charges of a sex crime call our office to set up a consultation to see if HYTA may be an option for your case.