A criminal case usually begins with an investigation by law enforcement authorities. The reports of the law enforcement agency are then forwarded to the local prosecutor (County Attorney) who reviews the reports and sometimes conducts a further investigation. If the local prosecutor files a charge, a complaint is filed with the County Court alleging some violation of law. After the complaint has been filed, a person is required to appear in Court for an arraignment or first appearance; which is a court proceeding before a judge who explains to you what you have been charged with, the possible penalties, and your legal rights. Depending upon the type crime charged, the specific procedures followed in a given case vary greatly from case to case after the first court appearance.
In a criminal case, you are entitled to the presumption of innocence, and that presumption continues
until the prosecutor has proven your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; or until you plead guilty or no contest.
One of the more complicated aspects of a criminal case is that the prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt by using evidence that was constitutionally and legally obtained and which is admissible in court. Courts will usually allow evidence to be presented unless a proper objection is made to the use of the evidence. Most laypersons do not have the legal expertise to understand whether the evidence was constitutionally and legally obtained and whether the evidence is legally admissible in a court proceeding.