Good Cause Exception Hearing Tips
Applicants seeking a good cause exception may find the process challenging and attending a hearing daunting. Chelle Law has good cause exception hearing tips to help you understand the process better.
Administrative Hearing with Arizona Board of Fingerprinting
When does a good cause exception go to an administrative hearing with the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting?
When you apply for a fingerprint clearance card and have any arrest or criminal history, your application will likely be denied, and you will need to apply for a good cause exception. You’ll fill that out on that application, attach the records, and send it in. The Board of Fingerprinting at the expedited review stage will then decide to grant your good cause exception or send it to the hearing department.
And so, let’s talk about why that might get sent to the hearing department. If the Board doesn’t have a clear picture and things aren’t appropriately completed on your application, there’s no way for them to know the disposition of those criminal arrests on your denial letter. They need to know if anything is pending.
Are you awaiting trial?
Have you yet to complete your sentence?
Did you not attach police records if your arrest was within five years of the application?
If you’re missing those documents, and they’re not getting a clear picture of where you are in the process of your criminal history, they may decide to take it to a hearing. At the hearing, you would meet with an administrative law judge who may request additional documentation to prove to the Board and the judge that you have completed your sentence, you’re not awaiting trial, and that the case has been concluded.
Also, another reason the Board may decide that your application needs to go to a hearing is if they feel like you have yet to show that you are rehabilitated. What does this look like? Some examples might be if you need more character references. There is a minimum of two on the good cause exception.
Applicant’s Criminal History
If you have committed the same crime over and repeatedly over a long period, they may be concerned. So, they would want to take it to a hearing where you would meet with that administrative law judge and then plead your case about why you are rehabilitated and maybe go into some mitigating circumstances around those multiple arrests.
Sometimes when we see a lot of thefts, substance abuse issues, or possession. So, you would go before the judge and show that you’ve completed treatment, are no longer under these same circumstances, and have been rehabilitated again. Also, if you don’t fill out your application correctly, for instance, or if you are missing documents like your letters of reference, the proper documents. Or you may check a box that says you have substantiated claims of child abuse or elder abuse—things like that would immediately get your application turned over to the hearing department.
So, you want to ensure that you fill your application out correctly. Again, when the Board receives your good cause exception, they want to see where you are in your case. Is it all taken care of? Have you been rehabilitated? And you’ve done everything correctly, they have a clear picture of your criminal history, and it’s not going to happen again.
And any circumstances surrounding those events in your statement, which I had talked about. It may be an abusive relationship, it could be substance abuse issues, or maybe it was just a troubled time in your past, and you have changed your ways, and this will not happen again. Those are the brief synopsis of why the Board would likely take your good cause exception to a hearing.
Now, if you go to a hearing, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be denied a good cause exception. It just means that the judge is going to ask you questions. You can have an attorney present. And this is something that our firm regularly handles to show you have the correct documents, you’ve been rehabilitated, and that you deserve this good cause exception.
There is an additional reason you may go to a hearing, which would be if it’s an offense on the precluded list. If you have a criminal history and any violation here in Arizona, it’s on that list. It’s mainly about child abuse, sexual misconduct, or violent crimes. Things like that are on the precluded list, defined in Arizona state statutes.
Then you would not go to a hearing; you would likely have your good cause exception denied. However, suppose you had similar convictions or arrests in a different state. In that case, the Board may conduct a hearing to see if that arrest or conviction in another state is substantially like what’s outlined in the Arizona statutes. So, that can be another reason your good cause exception would go to an administrative hearing.
A Good Cause Exception Hearing
Arizona fingerprint clearance card applicants initially denied a card could apply for a good cause exception. The Arizona Board of Fingerprinting may deny the initial good cause exception and forward the case to a hearing in front of an administrative law judge in Phoenix, Arizona. The hearing allows the applicant to show their past crimes are no longer an issue. This hearing allows the applicant to submit witness testimony (in person or by affidavit) and give testimony to the judge regarding their rehabilitation and unlikeliness to commit another crime. During this time, the applicant showcases why the Board should give them a good cause exception.
Good Cause Exception Hearing Tips
- Time-Frame: The hearing shall be held within forty-five (45) days of the completion of the expedited review. However, the applicant could have the hearing within 20 days of notice if they comply with due process. It means the hearing can occur within 20-45 days of the expedited review unless the applicant files a motion to reschedule for justifiable reasons.
- Reschedule: Under exceptional circumstances, it may be possible for you to reschedule your hearing for a later date by submitting a written request for a delay to the judge. In the event you have a formal notice of hearing, the assumption is you must attend on your scheduled hearing date. Failure to show up without justifiable cause will likely result in their denial of your good cause exception.
- Telephone: The administrative judge may allow an individual to appear at a hearing using a phone. It usually only happens under exceptional circumstances, which means an inconvenience will not justify “hearing by telephone.” To request a hearing by telephone, an applicant must submit a written statement/motion explaining the undue hardship of appearing at the hearing.
- Disabilities: Applicants with disabilities can request accommodations. By notifying the Board with reasonable time to make special arrangements, the Board can grant applicants accommodations such as language interpreters. The Board will seek the help of the American Sign Language Association. However, it’s vital to know due to cost constraints. Sign language interpreters have limited availability. The Arizona Fingerprint Bard also doesn’t prevent applicants from bringing their own interpreters.
- Final Decision: The judge sends a recommendation to the Board after the hearing. The judge has eighty (80) days to send their decision.
- Character Witnesses: An applicant may bring people to serve as character witnesses. It means they may call on friends, co-employees, and employers. It is best practice to bring only up to three (3) people. This number, however, is subject to the judge’s discretion. Having an attorney speak on your behalf is helpful but is not mandatory.
- Dress: You should wear clothes that present a professional image. Wearing scrubs, shorts, t-shirts, etc., are not professional attire.
Contact us today if you’re interested in setting up a consultation with Chelle Law or learning more about our Good Cause Exception Hearing Tips.