Applicants who are not approved for a card under an expedited review must appear at a hearing. Hearings take place in Phoenix, Arizona, and are conducted by an administrative law judge designated by the Board. At the hearing, the administrative law judge will ask questions and give the applicant the opportunity to submit testimony (the applicant's own testimony or that of a witness) to demonstrate that he or she is rehabilitated and not a recidivist. The hearing is the applicant's opportunity to demonstrate why he or she should be granted a good cause exception.
For applications received on or after September 19, 2007, the hearing must take place within 45 days of the expedited review. However, under state law, an applicant must be given at least 20 days' notice of the hearing. Therefore, the hearing will take place between 20 and 45 days of the expedited review, unless the applicant requests that the hearing be rescheduled or continued.
Following the hearing, the administrative law judge will file a recommendation to the Board. Within 80 days of the hearing, the Board will make the final decision. (For more information, see the section "Results: Board Makes Final Decision" below.)
The administrative law judge may allow an individual to appear at a hearing by telephone. However, the circumstances must be exceptional, and the applicant must demonstrate that appearing in person would be an undue hardship. In general, inconvenience, however significant, is not grounds for having a telephonic hearing. To request a telephonic hearing, the applicant should submit a written statement explaining why he or she would suffer undue hardship if not allowed to appear telephonically at the hearing. The statement should be submitted with enough time for the hearing officer to examine and respond to the request; applicants should not wait to submit request for telephonic hearings until just a few days before the scheduled hearing.
Applicants with disabilities may be entitled to accommodations, including American Sign Language interpreters. Applicants should notify the Board office as soon possible of any required accommodations to allow the Board staff sufficient time to make arrangements for the accommodations.
Due to budget constraints, the Board currently does not provide language interpreters (apart from American Sign Language). If applicants are not comfortable communicating in English, they should bring an interpreter to the hearing.