For a defendant and a trial attorney’s criminal procedure is complex and intricate. Different rights apply at different times during the process.
The process begins with the issuance of a criminal process or pleading. There are different types: citation, criminal summons, warrant for arrest, order for arrest, magistrate’s order, statement of charges, information, and indictment. Probable cause, a fair probability that a crime has been committed, and that the person accused committed that crime, must be found for each element of the offense alleged. Criminal process must be issued within two years for a misdemeanor; there is no statute of limitations for a felony.
Every defendant receives an initial appearance, and a defendant who is arrested (with or without a warrant) must be taken before a judicial official without unnecessary delay. The defendant must appear in person for their first appearance, although it may be conducted by video.