Once a charge has been filed and an arrest is made, the next step is to present the charges to the accused. This is called an “arraignment.” At the arraignment a judge will inform the accused of the charges against him/her, including any special allegations. In some courts, the maximum penalties and the accused’s constitutional rights (including the right to remain silent, the right to trial, the right to an attorney, etc.) must also be formally acknowledged.
Usually an attorney will ask the court to enter a “Not Guilty” plea at this early stage of the proceedings, and to deny any allegations.
The question of who will represent the accused is addressed. Either an attorney is hired or an accused may apply to the court for a public defender. In some jurisdictions a defendant who has financial ability to pay may be ordered to pay for his/her public defender.
Finally, the question of bail is addressed and next court dates are set.
There are two ways for a case to get to court: In one way, the prosecution and police investigate a case, file a complaint or request an indictment when they have enough evidence, and ask a court to issue arrest warrants. The police then go out and make arrests based on those warrants.
The other way is for the police to react to a report of a crime, make an arrest, and then submit their reports to the prosecutor. The prosecutor makes a decision on what crimes to charge (if any) based on the evidence that is indicated by the police reports and file a complaint.