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.

 

Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA), Part 1

HYTA 1

Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer HYTA

Criminal convictions have a way of marring a person’s life, sometimes before it even begins. Even seemingly benign misdemeanor convictions have a way of haunting people when applying for jobs, housing, scholarships, loans, and the like. The good news is that if you are a young adult (between the ages of 17 and 24) there is a way to keep bad choices from leaving an indelible mark on your record.

Michigan’s Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) is a way for young adults to keep criminal convictions off their public record. The eligibility is two-fold: age and offense. In general, the offense can’t be really serious (a life offense, most sex crimes) or traffic-related. The offense must have occurred between the time the defendant turned 17 and before his or her 24th birthday. It’s very important to note that the age of the defendant when the crime occurred is determinative, not when the defendant was caught, charged or convicted. The age limit is also strictly controlled by statute. If you committed the offense at 12:01 a.m. on your 24th birthday, you’re simply out of luck.

What is HYTA?

 Youthful Trainee Status (or HYTA for short) is similar to a diversion, delayed or deferred sentence in that if upon successful completion of whatever sentence the court imposes, no conviction will enter on your public record. That means if a potential employer, landlord, or college does a background check your record will be clean. You can also honestly say that you have not been convicted of a crime because under HYTA no conviction was entered on your record. Senator Holmes realized that young people sometimes make bad decisions and he didn’t want those bad choices to forever scar someone’s record just as their life was beginning. The HYTA sentencing option is a way for a young person to get a second chance and earn a non-public conviction.

What Offenses are Not Eligible for HYTA?

  • An offense that is punishable by life in prison (exs. murder, armed robbery)
  • A major controlled substance offense
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct in the first, second, third, or fourth degree (or any attempt or conspiracy to commit a CSC offense)
  • Assault with Intent to Commit Penetration
  • Traffic offense (exs. DUI/OWI, reckless driving)

There are some other instances that will make a defendant ineligible for HYTA. If the defendant has previously been convicted or adjudicated of an offense requiring compliance with the Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA), then the defendant is not HYTA eligible for a new offense. Also, the court cannot grant HYTA if the court concludes that any of the factors set forth in any of the Criminal Sexual Conduct crimes occurred.

If Granted HYTA do I Still Have to Register as a Sex Offender?

 The unfortunate answer is yes. HYTA allows you to have a non-public record of the offense meaning it will not show up as a conviction in any background check nor is the file accessible to the public in any courthouse. However, you can still be forced to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) even though it flies directly in the face of the entire purpose of HYTA. Not to mention that what they are reporting is really untrue since SORA will indicate what you were “convicted” of but the HYTA legislation clearly states that no conviction will enter. So not only does SORA circumvent the purpose of HYTA but they are essentially reporting something about you that is not true. Until the courts and legislature come to this realization, it’s here to stay.

Can I Receive HYTA if Convicted of a Sex Crime?

 It depends. You can’t receive HYTA if convicted of any degree of criminal sexual conduct, assault with intent to commit penetration, or if you were convicted of a listed offense in the past. However, you can receive HYTA if convicted of a sex crime that doesn’t fall into one of the prohibited categories. Also, if convicted of an offense that requires you to comply with the sex offender registry act (SORA) the burden is on the defendant to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is not likely to commit a listed offense again in order to receive HYTA. How does a defendant prove this? This is where having an attorney represent you that is very experienced in defending sex crimes, especially sex crimes by young defendants, is crucial. You can be psychologically evaluated, take a sex offender course, and other means. Your lawyer can help present your case to the court to convince the judge that you should be granted HYTA.

Tomorrow we will conclude our discussion of the Youthful Trainee Act.

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.

Michigan Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic Violence 1 Lansing Michigan Domestic Violence Attorney

 

Domestic Violence

 

Domestic violence is an assault crime that can have a big impact on your life. Not only will you have a violent crime on your record, it could impact your job, future career, and custody of your children. A family judge may even grant your spouse exclusive use of the marital home during the divorce. Just being charged can bring an avalanche of immediate consequences such as the judge entering a no-contact order stating that you cannot have any form of contact, including third party, with the complaining witness even if you have children together. The judge could also order that you not be in possession of any firearms as a pretrial condition. Most judges and prosecutors make these cases a high priority and things can get serious very quickly. There could be other charges arising from the incident such as felonious assault, interfering with electronic communications, and assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder. 

 

Relationships

 

Under MCL 750.81, domestic violence originates from one of the following relationships:

 

  • spouses (present or former)
  • dating relationship
  • individuals with a child-in-common
  • residents of the same household

 

Elements of the Crime

 

Domestic violence is when an assault or battery occurs in one of the above mentioned relationships. Michigan law separates it into two categories: domestic violence and aggravated domestic violence.

 

Domestic Violence

 

This is just a simple assault or battery that does not require injury or proof of any injury.

 

1st Offense: Defendant faces up to 93 days in jail and $500 in fines

2nd Offense: Defendant faces up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines

3rd Offense: Defendant faces up to two years in prison and $2,500 in fines

 

Aggravated Domestic Violence

 

This is an assault or battery that causes a serious injury requiring medical attention. It is not required that that victim seek medical attention, only that the injury was severe enough that it would require medical attention.

 

1st Offense: Defendant faces up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines

2nd Offense: Defendant faces up to two years in prison and $2,500 in fines

 

New Strangulation Law

 

In 2012 the legislatures amended MCL 750.84 (Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less than Murder) to include assault by strangulation or suffocation. Strangulation is defined as “intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person.” It is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $5,000 fines. The new law went into effect April 1, 2013. Defendants charged with domestic violence can also be charged with Great Bodily Harm Less than Murder or Assault by Strangulation because the elements are different. Not only do these greatly increase the severity of the charges, but it gives the prosecutor an extra bargaining chip when discussing plea negotiations.

In the next article, I will discuss Pretrial Release conditions such as a no-contact order, deciding whether or not to go to trial, defenses, and deferred sentencing options.

 

If you have been charged with domestic violence, you need to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and ensure a good outcome. Contact Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan domestic violence defense lawyer today.

Representing clients on domestic violence 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.