Recently, the Michigan Legislature made what some what call a surprising move…they made life a little bit easier for young criminal defendants. For years, criminal defendants aged 17-20 have able to take advantage of HYTA – the Holmes Youthful Training Act – as a way of avoiding a criminal conviction from staining their record. When a youthful offender pled guilty to a certain offense, he or she, upon successful completion of that probation, would have the conviction suppressed from their criminal record. The determination of whether or not HYTA status would be granted was in the sole discretion of the judge. However, the new HYTA statute, while not perfect, has opened the door for more youthful offenders to be granted HYTA status.
Under the new statute, offenders up the age of 24 are eligible for HYTA probation. However, there is a catch…for those aged 17-20, the decision regarding HYTA still resides with the judge. For those aged 21-23, the decision to allow for HYTA rests not with the judge, but with the prosecutor. This gives the prosecutors more leverage in negotiating pleas for those who wish to receive HYTA probation.
Defendants who enter guilty pleas to life offenses, traffic offenses, major drug offenses, or criminal sexual conduct charges, are disqualified from receiving HYTA probation.
Those placed on HYTA probation may be required to complete school, maintain employment, be placed on electronic tether, or be subject to a number of other requirements. There is also the possibility of spending time a special branch of the MDOC, for up to 3 years. However, there are certain offenses for which a defendant may NOT be sentenced to a term of incarceration.
If you or a family member of friend believe you may be eligible for HYTA probation, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law.