If criminal procedure is important to your story — when a suspect will be arraigned, where, how counsel are appointed, procedures for bond hearings, and so on — be sure to check the website for your story court. You’ll find all kinds of useful information. For example, the King County (Washington) Superior Court puts its Criminal Department manual and forms online. The Montana District Court website includes its manual for judges, called the Bench Book, and its bond guidelines. Most courts post their rules and calendars on line, as well as statistics and performance measures.
To find the right court for your story state, check the National Center for State Courts website state-by-state directory, with links to the various levels of courts in each state and a court structure chart, showing which courts handle what matters.
(Image: Old Flathead County Courthouse, now a county office building, from the postcard collection of the Montana Historical Society.)