This concludes our discussion of the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) from yesterday.
Can I be Sentenced to Jail or Prison on HYTA?
Yes! It’s been my experience that most HYTA sentences include probation but sometimes it will include jail. The jail may not always be upfront, but if you violate your probation the judge can and often will send you to jail for violating probation. The maximum amount of time you can by on HYTA probation is three years. The court can also sentence an offender to HYTA prison. There are specific wings of the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer County designated for HYTA offenders only. Regardless of your sentencing guidelines, you can spend no more than two years in HYTA prison. Some judges will send offenders to HYTA prison who repeatedly violate probation or if convicted of a really serious offense. For example, a youthful offender may be charged with armed robbery. Since that is a life offense it is not eligible for HYTA. The prosecutor may allow the offender to plead guilty to a lesser charge of unarmed robbery which is HYTA eligible.
If I Violate Probation Will I Lose My HYTA Status?
There is a good possibility that my happen. Not all probation violations are treated equally so it will depend on the violation and the judge. Usually a judge will not revoke HYTA for a first probation violation but it can and does happen. You don’t want to risk it! If you have been charged with a probation violation, you need to contact a probation violation lawyer to convince the judge not to revoke your HYTA status, even if found guilty of the violation. The judge can always sentence you jail, prison, lengthen your probation, or add conditions to your probation. No matter what happens, you want to keep your Youthful Trainee status.
Can I Get HYTA More than Once?
Yes, you can receive HYTA multiple times as there is no limit in the statute, unlike 7411 for drug possession and drug use crimes. However, just because you can doesn’t mean you will. You certainly don’t want to risk it by committing other offense under the guise that you will automatically receive HYTA. That is simply not the case. Many judges are reluctant to give HYTA multiple times as it starts to seem like an abuse of the system. Many judges can be convinced to grant HYTA twice but after that, you are really pushing your luck. I once convinced a judge to grant HYTA to an offender for a third time over the prosecutor’s objection, but it’s rare. The more times you go to the well the greater you risk not getting it. Some prosecutor’s offices have policies of objecting to HYTA if a defendant had previously been granted it. The final decision is always up the judge, but you want the prosecutor on your side if at all possible. This is where being represented by a lawyer with vast experience in your court and with your judge is invaluable as your lawyer can tell you what the judge is likely and not likely to do.
If I’m Found Guilty or Convicted at Trial Can I Petition for HYTA?
No! Unlike 7411, you cannot petition the court for HYTA if you have been convicted at trial. HYTA encourages judicial efficiency and defendants to take responsibility for their actions by admitting guilt. If defendants could run the gambit of trial and still get the same result, even if they lose, there really is no incentive to admit guilt and take responsibility for your actions. Also, a defendant can also not be granted HYTA by pleading No Contest—he must plead guilty or else he cannot receive HYTA.
Can I Receive HYTA if the Prosecutor Objects?
In some circumstances, yes. The final decision always rests with the judge. However, there were some amendments this past year to HYTA that changed some of that. Under the old HYTA, you could only receive it if you were between 17 and 21, but the judge always had the authority to grant HYTA even if the prosecutor objects. Now, if you are seeking HYTA between the ages of 21 and 24 the law says the prosecutor must agree or not object in order for the judge to grant HYTA. The judge still has discretion if it’s between 17 and 21. If it’s between 21 and 24, the prosecutor must be on board for the judge to grant the petition.
Earn a Non-public Record with HYTA
Being granted HYTA means your record of the “conviction” is non-public. It’s not an expungement which is removing a criminal conviction that is already on your record. With HYTA, the conviction is never on your public record. The entire file is suppressed the moment the judge accepts the plea. However, it is and always will be accessible by law enforcement, the courts, the Department of Corrections, and the prosecutor’s office. That means if you get in trouble with the law again, the courts will know you were granted HYTA in the past and that this is not your first offense. That may impact negotiations in your current case which is why it is always important to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Lansing Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime and you don’t want it to impact your future, contact Austin Legal Services, PLC to speak to a Michigan criminal defense attorney to see if you can be given a second chance with HYTA. Call today at (517) 614-1983!
Representing defendants and petitioning for HYTA throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Jackson, Shiawassee, Livingston, Jackson, Kent, Washtenaw, in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, St. Johns, Charlotte, Brighton, Howell, Corunna, Jackson, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor.