The police tell you your child has allegedly committed a crime. You do not want a mistake to follow your child through life. A criminal record can make it difficult to find a job, get a loan or even get into college.
There are ways to keep a criminal offense from your child’s record. He or she may need to plead guilty. Depending on the charge, your child may have the option of HYTA sentencing. The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act allows for a dismissal of certain criminal offenses for juvenile offenders.
What the HYTA covers
The HYTA statute applies only to those from 17 to 24. A person deemed eligible must plead guilty to the criminal charge.
- An offender between the ages of 17 to 20 is subject to the judge’s decision; the prosecutor does not need to give consent.
- From the age of 21 to 24, the prosecutor must consent.
- The court may require the offender to get a job or attend a college or a trade school.
- If the offense occurred after his or her 21st birthday, the court may require the person to wear an electronic monitoring device.
Working with an attorney to negotiate on the offender’s behalf may keep the court from rejecting the HYTA.
What the HYTA does not cover
Certain offenses are not eligible for the HYTA:
- A felony with the maximum penalty is life in prison
- Sex offense
- Major controlled substances offenses
- Traffic violations such as Operating While Intoxicated
The court can punish a youthful trainee with probation for not more than three years. The terms of the probation may include requiring the person to attend a drug treatment court. He or she may also have to make restitution.
The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act gives young offenders a chance to keep a criminal offense off their record. If the court accepts a person into the program, the court does not enter a judgment of conviction.