The lawyers at George Law, (248) 470-4300, are highly experienced with the Holmes Youthful Training Act (“HYTA”). HYTA is available if you commit a crime when you’re between 17–23 years old.
If you plead under HYTA, and a court disposes your case under HYTA:
- the court does not enter a judgment of conviction,
- your record is sealed, and
- you case is dismissed when you comply
Michigan charges you as an adult for criminal offenses if you are at least 17-years old. This may surprise you, because a lot of other laws still treat you as a minor until you’re 18. But HYTA helps counter-balance this by letting you keep a criminal offense (including felonies) off your criminal record. This is about the same as having it “expunged” from your record.
Think about it — if your crime is dismissed under HYTA, you avoid the stigma and public record of a criminal conviction. You don’t have to disclose that crime on a job application or a college application. It’s like starting over again.
To qualify for HYTA, you have to plead guilty to the crime and the judge has to accept you under HYTA status. But, if the court accepts you on HYTA, your crime becomes closed to public view.
How do you get Holmes Youthful Training Act status?
HYTA status is not guaranteed; a judge, at its own discretion, may accept or reject HYTA. It sure helps to have an experienced attorney, like those at George Law, fighting for you. We can obtain HYTA for you by (i) negotiating with the prosecutor, and (ii) petitioning the court to accept HYTA.
Even if you obtain HYTA status, the court may place you on probation, have you randomly tested for alcohol and drugs, and require you to attend counseling. The court may also order you to pay restitution if your case involved damage to property or economic crimes. But that’s a small price to pay for a clean record when everything is done.
Some important facts about HYTA:
There is no limit on the number of cases that may be placed on HYTA status.
- Juvenile offenders (under age 17) — not eligible for HYTA, but you may be eligible for essentially the same thing in juvenile court
- Age 17-20: HYTA is subject to the judge’s discretion; prosecutor’s consent is not needed
- Age 21-23: Prosecutor MUST consent to HYTA
- HYTA is not guaranteed — the judge may reject it
- HYTA is not available for traffic violations or drunk driving
- HYTA may include jail, probation, counseling, and paying restitution to victims
What shows up on my record if my case is dismissed under HYTA status?
We get asked this question a lot. As I explained above, if the court accepts your HYTA status (i) you are never found guilty of the underlying crime, (ii) your record in connection with it is sealed, and (iii) the court dismisses the case.
We cannot overstate the benefits of HYTA. It is an excellent deal that we have used to get many criminal charges simply dismissed. The court and the Michigan State Police seal your record after you comply with a HYTA disposition, and the public cannot view your record. If anyone contacts the court about your record after the court grants you HYTA, court employees are instructed to say: “There is no public record” and “The existence of HYTA records cannot be disclosed.”
Despite this, Holmes Youthful Training Act protection is limited in the sense that though your record is not visible to the public, it does not disappear. The courts, FBI, and Michigan State Police maintain the history of criminal cases forever, including those with HYTA status. Michigan also law gives limited access to non-public HYTA records. If you have questions, call George Law at (248) 470-4300.
HYTA is not available if you are charged with DUI, life offenses and other listed crimes
HYTA is available for most criminal felonies and misdemeanors. However, the HYTA statute also lists various offenses that are not eligible for HYTA status:
- Traffic offenses, including Operating While Intoxicated
- An offense for which you could be sentenced to life in prison
- Major controlled-substance offenses
- Most criminal-sexual-conduct crimes
All that being said, we’ve successfully negotiated HYTA for youthful offenders charged with serious felonies, drug crimes, assault crimes, and terrorism (ask us sometime to tell you about that!).
How do I answer questions about my HYTA case on employment applications?
Truthfully. Thankfully, this is one of HYTA’s biggest advantages. Most employment applications only ask if you’ve been “convicted” of a crime — not if you’ve been “charged” with a crime. When you plead under HYTA and successfully complete your sentencing terms, you have not been “convicted” of a crime — no guilty conviction is on your record. So you can truthfully answer “NO” if you are asked if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime.
Immediately after successfully completing the terms of your sentencing under HYTA, get a copy of your case dismissal from the sentencing court. Then you will have actual proof that the court dismissed the matter, proof that you may need to answer future questions or misunderstandings regarding your criminal history.
Creative legal solutions to get HYTA for ineligible crimes and offenders
If you are charged with an offense that is ineligible for HYTA, we can, with your approval, seek a plea bargain in which the offense is amended to an offense that is compatible with a HYTA disposition.
Other Michigan provisions which are similar to HYTA
Other criminal cases subject to laws that are similar to HYTA include:
- Domestic violence cases may be dismissed pursuant to MCL 769.4a.
- Drug possession and use crimes may be dismissed pursuant to MCL 333.7411.
You can use these provisions only once, while you can use HYTA on an unlimited basis if you and the offense are eligible and the judge accepts your HYTA plea. If you have the right lawyer, you can have several offenses dismissed over your lifetime by petitioning the court to apply these alternative sentencing provisions.
If you or somebody you know is unsure whether they can benefit from a HYTA plea, call George Law at (248) 470-4300.