The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) can be found at MCL 762.11 – MCL 762.16. This Michigan law allows a judge to place a youth between 17 and 20 who is alleged to have committed a crime and who has pleaded guilty to that crime, to be placed in prison or on probation, without a conviction to avoid a criminal record. (This law also applies to youths age 14, however, typically such cases are juvenile matters, which do not appear on a criminal record anyway, so HYTA status would not be sought.)
This privilege excludesfelony charges for which the maximum punishment is life imprisonment, a major controlled substance offense and traffic offenses. This action protects the privacy of the offender while on trainee status. If the youth successfully completes the program, there is no criminal record. Imprisonment or probation cannot exceed three years.
The judge can revoke youthful trainee status in its discretion, at any time. A guilty plea would then be entered, so it is very important to follow all rules and complete all requirements while in prison or on probation.
The defendant’s attorney will file a petition setting forth the reasons and request for HYTA status. It is important for the attorney to discuss this option with the prosecutor in advance to find out if there will be an objection to the petition and to discuss the possible sentence, fees, and work release as set forth in MCL 762.13 . Upon successful completion of the program, the youthful trainee shall be finally released and his case dismissed. When this happens a conviction is not (and has not been) entered. The individual suffers no civil disability or loss of right or privilege. All proceedings regarding the disposition of the criminal charge and the individual’s assignment as youthful trainee shall be closed to public inspection, but shall be open to the courts of this state, the department of corrections, the family independence agency, law enforcement personnel and, beginning January 1, 2005, prosecuting attorneys for use only in the performance of their duties.
This article was originally published on February 15, 2012.