§ 643.2525. Administrative Hearing Process

643.2525. Administrative Hearing Process

(a) If the department determines that a violation has occurred for which an enforcement action is being taken under Section 643.251 or 643.252, the department shall give written notice to the motor carrier by first class mail to the carrier's address as shown in the records of the department.

(b) A notice required by Subsection (a) must include:

(1) a brief summary of the alleged violation;

(2) a statement of each administrative sanction being taken;

(3) the effective date of each sanction;

(4) a statement informing the carrier of the carrier's right to request a hearing; and

(5) a statement as to the procedure for requesting a hearing, including the period during which a request must be made.

(c) If not later than the 26th day after the date the notice is mailed the department receives a written request for a hearing, the department shall set a hearing and give notice of the hearing to the carrier. The hearing shall be conducted by an administrative law judge of the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

(d) If the motor carrier does not timely request a hearing under Subsection (c), the department's decision becomes final on the expiration of the period described by Subsection (c).

(e) The administrative law judge shall make findings of fact and conclusions of law and promptly issue to the director a proposal for a decision as to the occurrence of the violation and the administrative penalties or sanctions.

(f) In addition to a penalty or sanction proposed under Subsection (e), the administrative law judge shall include in the proposal for a decision a finding setting out costs, fees, expenses, and reasonable and necessary attorney's fees incurred by the state in bringing the proceeding. The director may adopt the finding and make it a part of a final order entered in the proceeding.

(g) Based on the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and proposal for a decision, the director by order may find that a violation has occurred and impose the sanctions or may find that a violation has not occurred.

(h) The director shall provide written notice to the motor carrier of a finding made under Subsection (g) and shall include in the notice a statement of the right of the carrier to judicial review of the order.

(i) Before the 31st day after the date the director's order under Subsection (g) becomes final as provided by Section 2001.144, Government Code, the motor carrier may appeal the order by filing a petition for judicial review contesting the order. Judicial review is under the substantial evidence rule.

(j) A petition filed under Subsection (i) stays the enforcement of the administrative action until the earlier of the 550th day after the date the petition was filed or the date a final judgment is rendered by the court.

(k) If the motor carrier is required to pay a penalty or cost under Subsection (f), failure to pay the penalty or cost before the 61st day after the date the requirement becomes final is a violation of this chapter and may result in an additional penalty, revocation or suspension of a motor carrier registration, or denial of renewal of a motor carrier registration.

(l) A motor carrier that is required to pay a penalty, cost, fee, or expense under this section or Section 643.251 is not eligible for a reinstatement or renewal of a registration under this chapter until all required amounts have been paid to the department.

(m) If the suspension of a motor carrier's registration is probated, the department may require the carrier to report regularly to the department on any matter that is the basis of the probation. Any violation of the probation may result in the imposition of an administrative penalty or the revocation of the registration.

(n) All proceedings under this section are subject to Chapter 2001, Government Code.