The first step in the process of a criminal matter is the complaint, in which the officer identifies the individual being charged what the charges are. There will also be a summary of the incident which led to the charged.
A warrant may be issued for the defendant’s arrest, which instructs police to arrest the defendant. A warrant may also be issued for the failure to attend a hearing.
At an arraignment, the defendant will appear before a judge, be notified of the charges against him or her, and be advised on his or her rights.
After the defendant has been officially charged, the determination on bail is made. Depending on the severity of the crime, bail can either be set or denied. If bail is set, the defendant can pay to be released from jail with the promise of appearing in court for trial. If bail is denied, the defendant will remain in custody until the conclusion of his or her trial.
At the preliminary hearing, the prosecution must show evidence that a crime has been committed and that the defendant is most likely the culprit. If the prosecution is able to do that, the case can go to trial, if not, it can be dismissed.
During plea bargaining, both sides attempt to reach an agreement. Often, the defendant will attempt to reduce the charge or penalties in exchange for a guilty plea.
At the arraignment, the crime being charge will be laid out; and a plea of guilty or not guilty will be made. If a not guilty plea is entered, the case will be set for trial. If a guilty plea is entered, a sentencing hearing will take place.
A defendant will go trial that will be determined either by 12 jurors, or a bench trial, which is a trial by a Judge.