Evidence to Present in Administrative Hearings

Evidence in Hearings

One of the most important aspects of an administrative hearing is the evidence that is presented. The evidence presented by both parties in a hearing is what is reviewed by the board or the hearing officer. Evidence is used to substantiate allegations against a person, but it is also used to rebut the allegations and show that what is being alleged is not what really happened, it did not happen at all, or it is not the full story. You can learn more about evidence and administrative hearings on this page.

Evidence and Investigators

To understand the types of evidence that will be presented in the hearing, think about what types of evidence have been taken or can be taken by the investigator. The investigator’s role in the process is to search for evidence that tends to answer questions surrounding the allegations against the licensee. This could mean that the investigator physically shows up to the licensee’s place of work and gathers video evidence, interviews witnesses, searches the premise, makes copies of records, and more. 

Another way the investigator gathers information is by making requests and demands for production of documents and records. The investigator may request documents like audits, financial reports, and client files. This evidence gathered at the investigation stage is then given to the agency to review and compile to build a case to present at the hearing. Understanding the central facts that the allegations are based on is key to getting an idea of what evidence will be presented at the hearing. It is even more important for a licensee facing a hearing to compile their own evidence with an attorney to present at the hearing

Types of Evidence

Hearsay evidence is generally admissible in administrative hearings, even though it is generally not in court hearings. Hearsay evidence is testimony or statements made by people outside of the hearing or court that is being offered to prove the truth of something being asserted. The reason why this evidence is typically not allowed in court is because it is not made under oath and is seen as unreliable. 

In an administrative hearing, though, hearsay evidence is admissible if the officer or board determines that the statements are relevant, probative, and trustworthy. The opposing side must also be aware that the hearsay evidence is going to be used in the hearing. Because hearsay is allowed to be presented in these hearings, this opens up a lot of potential evidence, like statements from others, that the licensee can present for part of their defense. 

Along with hearsay evidence, witness testimony is also allowed in administrative hearings. Witnesses that have something to say about the licensee’s professional conduct, work duties, character, and alleged wrongful conduct are all important to the licensee’s defense of the allegations. The officer at the hearing has discretion to believe or not believe part or all of a witness’s testimony. Witnesses are critical for authenticating writings and documents, especially when the authentication of text messages or communication is in question. 

Evidence of the licensee’s profession and the customary behavior is allowed in administrative hearings. For example, if the licensee allegedly conducted themselves in a way that was unethical and led to a mistake, the licensee could introduce evidence that shows that the conduct was customary in that profession, and that is how most people in that same situation would have handled themselves. It is important to note though that the hearing officer or panel can use their own expertise and knowledge of the profession when evaluating the evidence. 

Getting Help

Just like the rules of evidence in criminal cases, the UAPA and agency procedures make evidence a complicated issue. Navigating the rules and regulations on presenting evidence in an administrative hearing is extremely important for a case and a licensee is not advised to go in alone. If you are preparing for an administrative hearing or believe that your professional license is in jeopardy, contact our office today to see how we can help. 

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