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Felonies: Can plea bargain records after an arrest be sealed?

Although the public has access to most legal proceedings, plea bargains could prevent such access. They are precisely what the name says, bargains that are negotiated. Negotiating plea bargains is an essential part of the legal proceedings that follow arrests on felonies in Michigan or elsewhere. However, it is a complicated process that might be best left for legal counsel to navigate.

A well-known case of plea bargaining involves the much-publicized case of Jeffrey Epstein upon his previous arrest in 2007. His attorney negotiated a work-release program, along with the ending of the FBI investigation and the sealing of the details of the plea agreement. Details about arrests, criminal charges, names and mugshots are typically released to the press for publication. However, when it comes to juvenile victims or offenders, cases might proceed behind closed doors. Using initials or pseudonyms might be used to hide juvenile identities, and court filings might include requests to seal sensitive information.

Plea bargaining can achieve the same results. This process typically involves a person pleading guilty to a different or lesser charge, which could still lead to a conviction on a person's criminal record. Sometimes, negotiating a plea bargain could include a guilty plea in exchange for the record being sealed. A lawyer might even be able to negotiate the charges being dropped altogether after completion of a drug treatment program or community service.

Plea negotiations are valuable tools for the use of criminal defense attorneys in Michigan and other cities. It is a complicated field of the law, and individuals facing felonies might not understand the consequences of plea bargaining. For this reason, the best person to deal with the plea bargaining process and the possibility of having the details sealed is a lawyer with extensive experience in criminal defense.

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