There are several things that happen when a person is accused of a crime. Some of the following may only apply to certain cases. People who are facing any type of criminal matter should understand the criminal justice system.
You shouldn't base your thoughts on what you've seen on television or in the movies. Instead, make sure that you are informed with how the criminal justice system actually works.
Arrests don't always happen instantly
There are times when police officers who are working on a case will not arrest someone right away. There are limits that apply to how long a person can be held without criminal charges. Sometimes, officers will continue to investigate a case so that they have enough evidence to arrest a person and charge him or her with a crime. There is also a chance that the charge a person faces might change over time as more evidence is gathered and new facts emerge.
Reasons to prosecute
Prosecutors have a wide berth when deciding what criminal charges are worth pursuing. The reasons for the decisions they make vary greatly. Some prosecutors might have political aspirations that lead them to take on some cases and not others. Another factor that can come into the picture is Notion of Justice, which is based on closely held beliefs about how crimes should be handled. The policies and procedures of the office and the law in the specific jurisdiction can also have a part in what prosecutors do with specific cases.
Grand juries aren't always used
On television and in movies, there is likely a grand jury that reviews cases. In reality, there are only some cases that will go before the grand jury. Even when a grand jury is used, the prosecutor isn't bound by the recommendation. When a case bypasses the grand jury, a preliminary hearing will be held. There is a fine line here about which one the case needs to go through because prosecutors may need to reveal closely held evidence in a preliminary hearing.