In Michigan, young adults who have committed certain crimes may qualify for their offenses to be eliminated from their record under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. Under this act, young offenders who plead guilty for criminal offenses may petition to the court to be placed on a probationary term that, once successfully completed, will allow for their conviction to be dismissed and not be entered onto their record. This results in a clean record for the offender and is similar to expungement. When the offender is compliant with the probation period the case will be dismissed and their record will be sealed.
The offender does not automatically qualify for the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. The offender must have this status approved by the judge in the jurisdiction in which they are being tried. In some cases, the prosecutor and the victim may be included in the decision of whether the offender qualifies.
The inclusion of the victim and prosecutor when it comes to whether an offender would qualify is a recent change to the policy. Another change is the extended scope of age for qualifying for the probationary term under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act to 26 years old, as well as the additional consent of the prosecutor for offenders between the age of 21 and 26 years old.
Previously, the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act only applied to offenders between the ages of 17 years old and 24 years old. The changes to this policy have extended the age range to 26 years old. Additionally, the changes to this policy now require individuals between the ages of 21 years old and 26 years old to have consent from the prosecuting attorney before qualifying for participation.
One additional change to the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act is that, now, before an offender can be granted status by the sentencing judge, the victim must be consulted by the prosecutor. Even through the consultation with the victim is required for the court to pursue the offender’s eligibility, the only one that can decide whether the offender qualifies for Holmes Youthful Trainee Act status is the sentencing judge.
The expansion of the age range for the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, as well as the inclusion of offenses not previously included opens the door for opportunity for the offenders who are able to participate. It allows young offenders to have access to more educational and employment opportunities than they would have if the offense were to follow them through their lives.