The Administrative Hearing Process

A Classic Example of the Fox Guarding the Henhouse?

The driver (or an attorney representing the driver) has 15 days from the date of the arrest to file with the Department of Revenue a written request for an administrative hearing. The form must be completed, mailed (and postmarked) within 15 days of the arrest. If the administrative hearing request form is not completed, mailed, and postmarked in the prescribed time, the driver’s right to an administrative hearing is waived and the suspension or revocation goes into effect.

If an administrative hearing is properly requested in a timely manner, the Department of Revenue schedules the administrative hearing in the County of the arrest (or by telephone, if requested). The hearing is conducted by a hearing examiner, a lawyer / employee of the Department of Revenue, who acts both as the prosecutor and judge.

The only two issues at the hearing are whether it is more probably true than not true that 1) there was probable cause to believe the driver was driving a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition; and 2) whether the driver’s BAC was above the legal limit (.08% for adults, .02% for minors).

In most cases, the hearing examiner deems the administrative records sufficient to serve as the arresting officer’s testimony during the administrative hearing and does not require the officer’s in appearance in person. The driver, however, may subpoena the arresting office to appear in person.