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RULE §159.211Hearings

(a) Procedures.

  (1) Hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the APA, Texas Government Code, Chapter 2001, when applicable, and with this chapter, provided that if there is a conflict between the APA and this chapter, this chapter shall govern. If a conflict exists between this chapter and the Texas Transportation Code, Chapters 522, 524, or 724, and these rules cannot be harmonized with those chapters, the applicable Texas Transportation Code provision controls.

  (2) Once the hearing has begun, the parties may be off the record only when the judge permits. If a discussion off the record is pertinent, the judge will summarize it for the record.

  (3) In the interest of justice and efficiency, the judge may question witnesses.

  (4) The judge shall exclude testimony or any evidence which is irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious.

(b) Evidence. Pursuant to Texas Government Code §2001.081, the rules of evidence as applied in a non-jury civil case in a district court of this state shall apply in ALR proceedings.

(c) Witnesses and affidavits.

  (1) All witnesses shall testify under oath.

  (2) An officer's sworn report of relevant information shall be admissible as a public record. However, the defendant shall have the right to subpoena the officer in accordance with §159.103 of this title (relating to Subpoenas). If the defendant timely subpoenas an officer and the officer fails to appear without good cause, information obtained from that officer shall not be admissible. In the alternative, if the party who requested the subpoena wants to seek enforcement of the subpoena, the judge may grant the party a continuance.

  (3) The judge, on his or her own motion or on request of a party and with the consent of all parties, may allow the testimony of any witness to be taken by telephone or videoconference, provided that all parties have the opportunity to participate in and hear the proceeding. All substantive and procedural rights apply to the telephone or videoconference appearance of a witness, subject to the limitations of the physical arrangement as described in §159.209(c) of this title (relating to Participation by Telephone or Videoconference).

(d) Record of hearing.

  (1) The judge shall make an accurate and complete recording of the oral proceedings of the hearing.

  (2) SOAH will maintain a case file that includes the recording, pleadings, evidence, and the judge's decision.

  (3) SOAH will maintain case files in accordance with the terms of its records retention schedule.

(e) Interpreters. When an interpreter will be needed for all or part of a proceeding, a party shall file a written request at least seven days before the hearing. SOAH shall provide and pay for:

  (1) an interpreter for deaf or hearing impaired parties and subpoenaed witnesses in accordance with §2001.055 of the APA;

  (2) reader services or other communication services for blind and sight-impaired parties and witnesses; and

  (3) a certified language interpreter for parties and witnesses who need that service.

(f) If the defendant fails to make a timely request, the judge may provide an interpreter or may continue the hearing to secure an interpreter.

Source Note: The provisions of this §159.211 adopted to be effective January 20, 2009, 34 TexReg 334

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