Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA), Part 2

HYTA 2

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney HYTA

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.

 

Filing a False Police Report

Filing a False Police Report

Lansing Michigan False Police Report Defense Attorney

It is a crime to intentionally report a crime knowing that it did not happen. The consequences you face depend on the severity of the false report. A person is guilty of filing a false police report if they:

  1. Intentionally make a false report or intentionally causes a false report of the commission of a crime to be made
  2. The false report is made to a peace officer, police agency of the state or local unit of government, 911 operator, or any other governmental employee or contractor or employee of a contractor who is authorized to receive reports of a crime
  3. The person making the report or causes the report to be made knows the report is false.

Is Filing a False Report a Misdemeanor or Felony?

It depends on what the false report is. If it is a false report of a misdemeanor, then it is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 93 days and/or a $500 fine. If it is a false report of a felony, then it is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a $2,000 fine.

Heightened Punishment for False Reports Causing Injury or Death

The consequences are more severe for filing false police reports that cause someone to be injured, suffer a serious impairment of a bodily function, or death. The injury or death must have occurred as a proximate result of lawful conduct in response to address the reported crime. If the false police report results in physical injury, that person is guilty of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. If the false police report results in a serious impairment of a bodily function, that person is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine. If the false police report results in death, that person is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of at least $25,000 but no more than $50,000.

Defenses

It is not enough that someone reported a crime that turned out to be false. To be guilty of this offense, that person must have intentionally made or caused to be made such a report knowing that it was false. If the person had a good faith belief that a crime was occurring or had occurred and turned out to be wrong, that person is not guilty of this offense. If the charge involves filing a false police report involving an injury, serious bodily impairment, or death, it must have occurred as a proximate cause of the false police report.

Lansing Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with filing a false police report, you need an experienced and dedicate advocate to fight for you. Call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a criminal defense attorney today!

Defending charges of filing a false police report throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Livingston, Kent, Jackson, Shiawassee, Washtenaw in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Howell, Brighton, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Corunna, Ann Arbor.

Special Accommodations in Sex Crime Cases

Sex Crimes 2

Lansing Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) Defense Lawyer

Being charged with a sex crime is a frightening and humiliating experience for most defendants. Even the mere allegation has the power to forever change someone’s life. Not only is prison time almost a given in most cases, but there are additional punishments such as being labeled a sex offender and being compelled to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) and the public scorn that goes along with it. Not only are sex crimes unique with its “dual punishment” but the courtroom procedures are specifically altered as well. These are known as “special accommodations.”

Screenings or Shielding

In some cases, the court may allow the complaining witness (“victim”) to be shielded from the defendant while testifying. This could be accomplished by simply having the defendant and prosecutor switch tables so the witness is not direct in view of the defendant, or it could involve placing a barrier in between the witness and the defendant, such as a chalkboard. However, the defendant must still be able to see and hear the witness and be able to communicate with his attorney. Sometimes the court may exclude all unnecessary persons from the courtroom.

The court will base its decision on a number of factors “necessary to protect the welfare of the witness.” The court takes into consideration the age of the witness and the nature of the offense. If the witness and/or the witness’s family or guardian desire to have the witness testify in a room closed to the public, the court will be taken into consideration. Often these occur when the complaining witness is a child or minor. At trial, the same accommodations can be given in addition to the attorneys being ordered to stand at the podium infront of the witness stand to ask questions of all witnesses.

According to MCL 600.2163a(9)(a)-(c), the judge must consider these factors on the record when making his decision. The prosecutor must give notice to the defendant that they are seeking to use a shield or screening so the defendant has an opportunity to object. However, such objections usually fall on deaf ears as caselaw supports these special accommodations although they can be highly prejudicial by suggesting to the jury that the defendant is someone to be feared and the witness is right to be fearful of him. It elevates the rights of a witness above the Constitutional rights of the defendant.

Support Person

The prosecution may also seek to allow a support person to accompany the complaining witness when testifying. Under MCL 600.2163a(4) and MCL 712A.17b(4), a child or developmentally disabled witness must be permitted to have a support person with them or be in close proximity to the witness while testifying. This applies to all stages of proceedings, not just trial. The prosecutor must serve a Notice of Intent upon the defendant and all other parties stating the name of the support person and their relationship to the witness. The support person is just to comfort the witness by their presence; they are not allowed to coach the witness or speak to them while they are testifying. The court and defense counsel should be cognizant of the potential for unduly suggestive nonverbal communication between the support person and the witness.

Michigan Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

Being charged with a sex crime can have a devastating impact on your life and the lives of those around you. Even if you are just being investigated, you need legal representation. Never, ever agree to talk to the police, CPS, or take a polygraph without first consulting with a lawyer. If you are facing criminal sexual conduct (csc) charges, call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan CSC defense lawyer.

Defending sex crimes, CSC charges, and SORA violations throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Livingston, Jackson, Shiawassee, Washtenaw, Kent, Barry in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Brighton, Howell, Jackson, Corunna, Durand, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Hastings. 

Michigan Stalking Laws

Stalking 1 Lansing Michigan Stalking Defense Attorney

 

Often arising from emotionally charged situations or relationships, Michigan takes stalking, or criminal harassment, very seriously. It is defined under MCL 750.411h as:

 

1)    a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual,

2)    that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, and

3)    that actually did cause the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

 

Now, let’s examine more closely what some of these terms and phrases mean.

 

Course of Conduct– A series of two or more separate, non-continuous acts evidencing a continuity of purpose. This is very crucial as you cannot be found guilty of stalking if there is only one incident. While it may seem like more than one incident on the surface, it may be considered one long, continuous occurrence (i.e. sending a number of text messages in a row). 

 

Harassment– Conduct including, but not limited to, repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress and that actually causes the victim emotional distress. Harassment does not include a constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose.

 

Unconsented Contact– When the defendant contacts the victim against their wishes or without permission and that the contact is not consented to has been made known to the defendant. This includes, but is not limited to:

 

  • following or appearing within the victim’s sight
  • approaching or confronting the victim in a public place or on private property
  • appearing at victim’s workplace or residence
  • entering onto or remaining on property owned, leased, or occupied by the victim
  • contacting the victim by phone, email, or other electronic means
  • placing an object on or delivering an object to property owned, leased, or occupied by the victim

 

Keep in mind  that the contact can be a combination of both consented and un-consented. Often this occurs where contact is consented to in one incident but not in another. For example, consent may be given to contact the victim regarding a child-in-common, but not for any other purpose.

 

There is no requirement of a prior domestic relationship.

 

Punishment: If convicted of stalking, you face up to one-year in jail and/or $1,000 in fines. You can also be placed on probation up to five years (very rare for a one-year misdemeanor) and the judge can (and usually does) order no contact with the victim.

 

If the victim is under 18 years old and there is at least a five-year age difference between the victim and defendant, the charge is a felony carrying up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines. 

 

Next I will discuss Aggravated Stalking and defenses to stalking.

If you have been charged with stalking, contact Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (5170 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan stalking defense attorney.

If you have been charged with OWI, contact Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to our Michigan OWI attorney to review your case, especially the administering of the field sobriety test.

 

Representing clients on stalking and aggravated stalking charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Barry, Clinton, Jackson, Shiawassee, Gratiot, Livingston, Washtenaw, Kent, Calhoun in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Haslett, Okemos, Eaton Rapids, Hastings, St. Johns, Bath, Ithaca, Alma, Jackson, Corunna, Durand, Brighton, Howell, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek.