The first step in a Criminal Case is arrest. An arrest can be made if someone witnesses a crime, if a citizen reports a crime, and if a judge issues an arrest warrant. The officer will read the suspect's Miranda Rights. The suspect is fingerprinted and photographed. They are allowed to contact a lawyer.
Next, is the hearing. Within 48 hours of the arrest, the suspect is informed of the charges against them. The judge either sends the accused back to jail, sets bail, or releases him or her.
Next is the indictment. Here, the grand juries decide whether a person should be formally charged with a crime, or indicted.
Next, in the arraignment the defendant is presented with the charges and enters a plea. If the defendant pleads "not guilty" then the case continues. If they plead guilty, they are convicted and the judge decides the punishment. The defendant can also plead no contest. A plea bargain is where the person pleads guilty, but to a lesser charge.
The trial opens with opening statements. Each side calls witnesses. The other side can cross-examine the witnesses. Each side then makes a closing statement. The jury leaves to decide on a verdict.
The jury reviews evidence and legal arguments to decide if a defendant is guilty or not guilty. If a jury feels the prosecution has not proven its case, it can decide on an acquittal. If the defendant is found guilty, the judge sets a court date for sentencing. If the defendant feels a guilty verdict is unjust or unfair, they can appeal to a higher court or for the case to be reviewed again.