Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to the following questions have been generalized for most hearings at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Information for your specific hearing may vary, depending on the referring agency and type of hearing.
An administrative hearing is like a trial but less formal. Both you and the referring agency can present evidence to the administrative law judge, who will make findings of fact and conclusions of law.
The notice of hearing is a written document telling you when and where the hearing will be held. The notice of hearing is sent after you request a hearing with a Texas State agency and the referring agency has sent your case to the State Office of Administrative Hearings. You typically should receive the notice of hearing at least ten days before the hearing.
In addition to the date and location of the hearing, the notice of hearing describes the nature of the hearing, including a short statement of the facts that the agency claims are true. You can use the notice of hearing to determine what laws apply to your case and help you prepare.
In most cases, you will not have to pay for your hearing. Some exceptions to this include, but are not limited to:
- If you choose to order a court reporter’s transcript of your hearing, you will pay for the associated costs.
- There are a few Texas state agencies that will charge you for the costs of the hearing if you lose your case.
- In Appraisal Review Board appeals, contract claims, and worker’s compensation cases, costs may be charged to the parties.
Although you may choose to hire an attorney, you are not required to have one. Please note that an attorney will not be appointed for you.
However, if you represent yourself you must follow the State Office of Administrative Hearings’ procedural rules. The State Office of Administrative Hearings has created two guides to further assist self-represented litigants:
- Please reference the Representing Yourself at the State Office of Administrative Hearings: Driver's License Hearings guide if you are representing yourself in a hearing involving the Department of Public Safety concerning a suspension of your driver's license.
- For all other hearings, known as general hearings or general docket hearings, please reference the Representing Yourself at the State Office of Administrative Hearings: General Hearings guide.
For guidance on how to send documents to the administrative law judge in general hearings, please reference General Hearings Filing Information.
For guidance on how to send documents to the administrative law judge in driver's license hearings, please reference Driver's License Hearings Filing Information.
You may be able to resolve, or settle, your case by discussing the case with the referring agency. Settlement negotiations will be between you and the referring agency’s representatives. The administrative law judge will not participate in settlement negotiations.
All hearing rooms at the State Office of Administrative Hearings are accessible to people with disabilities. If you will need special accomodations, please contact the State Office of Administrative Hearings Austin office as soon as possible.
For more information on attending a non-confidential general hearing please reference Attend Non-Confidential General Hearings.
For more information on attending a driver's license hearing, please reference Attend Driver's License Hearings.
Yes, under certain conditions.
Access to non-confidential general hearing documents is available through the Public Case File Search. The State Office of Administrative Hearings does not provide online access to files in confidential or driver's license hearings.
No party to a hearing is allowed to communicate with the administrative law judge about a hearing without the participation of all other parties to that hearing.
However, you may call the State Office of Administrative Hearings Austin office to speak with someone who may be able to answer your questions.
Please reference Visiting SOAH: Austin (Headquarters) for more information about parking at the Austin office.
Please refer to Visiting SOAH for more information about visiting any of the other State Office of Administrative Hearings office locations.
The State Office of Administrative Hearings has created two guides for self-represented litigants that may answer any additional questions you may have:
- Please reference the Representing Yourself at the State Office of Administrative Hearings: Driver's License Hearings guide if you are representing yourself in a hearing involving the Department of Public Safety concerning suspension of your driver's license.
- For all other hearings, please reference the Representing Yourself at the State Office of Administrative Hearings: General Hearings guide.
If you have any other questions, please fell free to contact the State Office of Administrative Hearings Austin office for assistance.
You should bring everything you may need to present your case to the administrative law judge during the hearing. Remember, the hearing is your opportunity to present your case and tell your side of the story. Please note that you will need to bring copies for both the administrative law judge and all other parties to your case.
When a hearing is scheduled, you should receive a notice of hearing telling you when and where the hearing will be held. You typically should receive the notice of hearing at least ten days before the hearing.
The hearing schedules for both general and driver's license hearings are posted online as well:
If you are unable to attend the hearing on the date it is set, you must file a written motion for continuance with the State Office of Administrative Hearings and you must send a copy to the other party. A motion for continuance requests that the hearing be rescheduled. You must include in your motion the reason why you cannot attend the hearing on the date it is scheduled. You must also file the motion at least five days prior to the hearing, unless there is a legitimate reason for the request being submitted later.
No, under certain conditions you may appear by telephone or videoconference or have a witness do so.
You must file a written motion with the State Office of Administrative Hearings to appear by telephone. Your motion should state the reason why you would like to appear by telephone, the telephone number at which you can be reached, and that you will be the person testifying by telephone at the hearing. You must also send a copy of your motion to the other party in the case. The State Office of Administrative Hearings procedural rule 1 Tex. Admin. Code §155.405(a) governs motions to appear by telephone.
You may also file a motion to appear by videoconference with the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Your motion should state the reason for your request and the city of your residence. In determining whether to grant your motion, the administrative law judge will consider relevant factors, including the availability of videoconferencing facilities. The State Office of Administrative Hearings procedural rule 1 Tex. Admin. Code §155.405(b) governs motions to appear by videoconference.
You must file similar motions for any witnesses to appear by telephone or by videoconference.
If you are the party that does not have the burden of proof in the hearing and you were provided a notice of hearing but fail to attend the hearing, then the judge may proceed with the hearing in your absence on a default basis. With a default, the allegations of fact in the notice of hearing are deemed to be true and the party that alleged these facts against you will not have to submit any additional proof. At a default hearing, based on evidence showing you received adequate notice of the hearing, the judge may proceed to issue rulings related to the case. See 1 Tex. Admin. Code §155.501(d).
In most cases, you should receive a copy of the Proposal for Decision (PFD) or Decision and Order no later than 60 days after the close of the hearing record. However, in certain cases the deadline may be shorter or longer.
Each party may object to the Proposal for Decision by filing written exceptions with the State Office of Administrative Hearings and with the referring agency. The deadline for filing exceptions and any replies to exceptions is set out in 1 Tex. Admin. Code § 155.507(b).
Different procedures apply to a Decision and Order. You should consult the specific statute of the referring agency and the Administrative Procedure Act, Tex. Gov’t Code § 2001.145, to determine the appropriate course of action.
In most cases, you have the right to appeal the final order of an agency to the Travis County District Court. However, you should check the specific law governing the general hearings handled by the referring agency to determine your appellate rights.
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