Preparing For The Hearing: Frequently Asked Questions


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How do I find an attorney?

If you choose, you may represent yourself before an Administrative Law Judge.  You may also bring an attorney or non-attorney representative with you to your hearing to represent you at your own expense.  The Department of State will not provide you with representation.  

You do not need to inform the Department of State in advance if you plan to bring someone with you to your hearing to represent you.  However, your representative must fill out and return the Notice of Appearance (pdf) form that you received with your Notice of Hearing.  Please submit your Notice of Appearance (pdf) form to the Office of Administrative Hearings using the contact information below.

In the past, parties have reached out to organizations that offer legal services free of charge.  These resources are not affiliated with the Department of State.  As a courtesy, the Department of State will provide you with contact information to help you find representation.  For more information, please contact the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Where can I find the laws governing the Office of Administrative Hearings?

The laws governing the Office of Administrative Hearings are available here: A Guide to Statutes and Rules Relating to Hearings and Appeals.  If you have trouble understanding your rights under these laws please contact the Office of Administrative Hearings.

May I speak to the judge?

You may only speak directly to your ALJ at your hearing.  You are not allowed to contact the judge prior to your hearing.

How can I receive a copy of the State’s exhibits?

You have the right to review the evidence that will be brought against you before your hearing. To review the rules and regulations on evidence, please refer to the Guide to Statutes and Rules Relating to Hearings and Appeals. As a courtesy, the Department of State has drafted a sample disclosure request letter that you may fill out and send to the Hearing Presenter representing the Division of Licensing Services in the case. Sample Disclosure Request Letter (pdf).

How do I request an interpreter?

If you are deaf, the Department of State must provide an interpreter for you. Notify the Hearing Presenter assigned to your case as soon as possible so an interpreter can be scheduled for your hearing.

If you do not speak English or have difficulty understanding English, you may request an interpreter to assist you at the hearing by contacting the Hearing Presenter assigned to your case.  You must request an interpreter before your hearing.

How may I receive a copy of a transcript?

In order to obtain a copy of the transcript of a hearing you must contact the Office of Administrative Hearings within a reasonable time.  You must make a request either by in writing. 

Can I have a witness testify at my hearing?

You may bring to your hearing any witnesses whose testimony will be helpful and relevant to your case, and who are willing and able to testify. Your witnesses will be subject to cross examination by the Division of Licensing Services. You will also have the opportunity to cross examine witnesses presented by the Division of Licensing Services.

For more information, please see Witnesses

Should I bring anything with me to my hearing?

Make sure that you have the following things with you on the day of your hearing:

  • All evidence that you plan to introduce to the Administrative Law Judge.  For more information on what kind of evidence you can bring, review Evidence.

  • If you have an attorney or non-attorney representative, make sure that you bring the Notice of Appearance [PDF] form, if you have not submitted one in advance.

  • Any witnesses that will testify on your behalf.  For more information on witnesses, review Witnesses.

  • Something to take notes with, including pens, pencils, and paper.  You may want to keep your own set of notes of what is happening during the trial.  If you would like access to a transcript please see the previous FAQ on Transcripts.

Will I have an opportunity to see what evidence the Department of State plans to present against me?

All parties appearing before an Administrative Law Judge have the right to review the evidence presented against them.  Contact the Hearing Presenter assigned to your case for more information about how to gain access to evidence that will be presented against you at your hearing.  As a courtesy, the Department of State has drafted a sample letter you can use to request disclosure materials.  Sample Disclosure Request Letter [PDF].

To review the rules and regulations on Evidence, please review the Guide to Statutes and Rules Relating to Hearings and Appeals. 

How do I contact the Office of Administrative Hearings? 

The Office of Administrative Hearings can be reached on our contact page.