Both misdemeanor and felony cases begin with an initial court appearance. During the court appearance, you’ll be given a criminal complaint form that discusses the charge against you, the probable cause, and the penalty if you’re found guilty. In a misdemeanor case, after this step you will enter in a plea of not guilty.
In felony cases, you will next go to a preliminary trial, wherein your attorney will try to provide enough evidence to the judge to convince them that you should stand trial. It the judge decides to take your case to trial, you will attend an arraignment, and you will be given your formal charges. You will then enter a plea.
In all criminal cases, you have the right to a trial by jury, and the jury verdict must be unanimous.