| Executive Hearing Office |
Frequently Asked Questions
| 1) What is an administrative hearing? |
An administrative hearing is similar to a civil trial in court, although it is generally less formal. The administrative hearing provides an opportunity for you to challenge an Order or Decision of the Arizona Department of Transportation which adversely affects a license or privilege.
| 2) Can everyone request an administrative hearing? |
No. There are some actions which are classified as ‘Mandatory’ and in these cases there is no right to an administrative hearing. The Notice or Order which you receive will indicate whether a hearing may be requested.
| 3) Do I need to request an administrative hearing to get a restricted driver license? |
No. In fact, the administrative law judge cannot even consider the issuance of a restricted driver license at the administrative hearing. Whether you are entitled to a restricted license depends upon the particular statute/violation involved and, in most cases, your prior driving history. When authorized by statute, a restricted license will be issued only after your license has been suspended for the mandatory period as required by law.
| 4) How do I request an administrative hearing? |
There are several ways to request a hearing. Please see our Executive Hearing Office page.
| 5) Where is the administrative hearing held? |
Most of the hearings which involve business licenses, tax issues or enforcement matters are conducted in the main office of the Executive Hearing Office in Phoenix. A lesser number of those cases are heard in Tucson. DUI-related hearings are usually conducted in the county where the DUI arrest occurred.
Read your hearing notice carefully for the location where your case is assigned. See Hearing Office Locations and Directions for driving directions to all hearing locations.
| 6) When will the administrative hearing be held? |
An administrative hearing will be scheduled approximately 30-35 days after the hearing request is received. It may be longer if the police officer, attorney or other necessary party cannot appear on the initial hearing date. In such cases, the matter may be continued for an additional 25-30 days.
If your hearing will be conducted at a location other than the hearing offices in Phoenix or Tucson, it will be significantly longer before the matter is heard. (45-60 days)
| 7) Can I observe an administrative hearing prior to attending my own hearing? |
Yes. All hearings conducted by the Executive Hearing Office are open to the public without need for prior notice or prior approval. You should, however, inform the administrative law judge that you are an observer immediately upon entering the hearing room. As an observer, you are required only to conduct yourself in a polite and orderly manner consistent with the dignity of the hearing.
Check Hearing Schedules for a schedule (docket) of all hearings, dates, times and locations.
| 8) What if I cannot appear on the date or at the time the hearing is scheduled? |
If you cannot appear on the date or at the time scheduled for your hearing, you may ask the Chief Judge for a continuance. However, you should understand that a continuance is not granted automatically. Your request is subject to the following rules:
- Your continuance request may be submitted in the same manner a hearing request. Please see our Executive Hearing Office page.
- The continuance request must be received in the Executive Hearing Office not less than seven business days before the scheduled date of your hearing;
- Your written request must show good cause for the requested continuance. Business obligations, school schedules, vacations or matters of personal convenience do not constitute 'good cause'.
| 9) What do I do if I need an interpreter? |
All hearings in the Executive Hearing Office are conducted in the English language. If you need language translator at your hearing, please indicate the language translation required when filing your written hearing request.
| 10) What I am going to be late for the hearing because of traffic or weather conditions? |
If you believe that you will arrive late at the hearing for any reason, you should contact the judge immediately by telephone. If your call is received before the hearing begins, the judge will delay the hearing for 15 minutes. If you do not appear at that time, the hearing will begin and you may lose your case by default - a failure to appear. If you are represented by an attorney, you should also contact your attorney as soon as you realize that you will be late.
See Hearing Office Locations and Directions for telephone numbers for all hearing locations.
| 11) How should I address the administrative law judge at my hearing? |
The administrative law judge should be addressed as ‘Your Honor’ or ‘Judge’.
| 12) Can I be represented by an attorney at the hearing? |
Yes. At the administrative hearing you may represent yourself or you may be represented by an attorney. The choice -- and the cost -- is yours. Since this is a civil proceeding, you are not entitled to the services of a court-appointed attorney ('Public Defender').
In any regulatory or enforcement hearing which involves a corporation, the corporation must be represented by an attorney licensed to practice law in Arizona.
| 13) Who will make the decision in my case? |
An Administrative Law Judge in the Executive Hearing Office is the presiding officer for the administrative hearing and will make the final decision in your case after hearing all of the evidence. The judge's decision will be in writing, setting forth separate findings of fact, conclusions of law and a final decision and order.
The Administrative Law Judge is employed by the Arizona Department of Transportation but exercises independent judgment, free from pressures by the parties or other individuals within the agency.
The duties and responsibilities of the Administrative Law Judge are generally comparable to those of the judge in a trial court (Phillips v. Clancy, 152 Ariz. 415).
| 14) What do I do if I disagree with the Administrative Law Judge’s decision? |
While the decision of the Administrative Law Judge in the Executive Hearing Office is final, that decision may be appealed to the Superior Court. This appeal is not a new hearing, but a review of the administrative hearing record to determine whether the judge may have made an error in applying the law. The findings of fact made by the administrative law judge cannot be changed by the appellate judge unless such findings are wholly without merit.
| 15) I have a trial pending in court on the DUI charge. Is this the same as the hearing? |
No. The hearing is a civil administrative proceeding concerning the suspension/revocation of your driver license or driving privileges. It does not determine whether you are guilty of a criminal act, such as driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
| 16) I have already been to court and was I was found ‘Not Guilty’ of the DUI charge. |
Will I still be required to attend the hearing?
Yes. The criminal trial and the Executive Hearing Office proceeding are separate and distinct. The outcome of one will not affect the other. If you wish to contest the suspension/revocation of your driver license, you must appear at the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. If you fail to appear, you may lose the case by default.