All criminal prosecutions are initiated in the District Court with the exception of certain offences dealt with by the Special Criminal Court (generally offences against the State).
A person is brought before the court either by way of a Summons or Charge Sheet.
A summons is a legal document which outlines details of the offence a defendant is alleged to have committed. It requires the defendant to appear in a specific court on a specific date and time. A summons may be issued by different bodies including An Garda Síochána, other Government agencies, An Post, and county councils.
A charge sheet is a document produced by An Garda Síochána containing details of the offence with which a defendant has been arrested and charged. A person enters a station bail bond before being released from the Garda station. This requires the defendant to appear in a specific court on a specific date and time.