|What to Expect?
Prehearing Conference Process
What is a prehearing conference (PHC)?
Most cases have a prehearing conference (PHC) before the hearing. This is a brief phone call with the judge and the Agency Representative.
You must participate in the prehearing conference. Otherwise, your case may be dismissed.
What is the difference between a PHC and a hearing?
A prehearing conference is not the hearing. A PHC is typically short and you will not need witnesses.
A hearing is when you get to present your case to the judge.
What happens at a PHC?
The judge will explain how the hearing works. The judge will also make sure that everyone understands what the hearing will be about. You will agree on a date and time for the hearing.
You will not tell the judge your side of the case and you do not need witnesses. That will happen at the hearing.
How do I prepare for a phone hearing?
- PHCs typically last 30 to 60 minutes.
- If using a cell phone, make sure the battery is fully charged.
- Try to have good, clear reception. If the judge cannot hear you, your case may have to be rescheduled.
- Be in a quiet location.
- You must be able to receive calls from a blocked caller ID or unknown number.
- Have a pen and paper available for note taking.
- You may not be driving during the PHC.
- Do not multitask. The judge will expect your full attention.
What is a PHC Order?
After the PHC, you will get a PHC order in the mail that confirms everything that was agreed on. It also provides information about preparing for the hearing.
What happens if I miss my PHC?
If you miss your PHC, the judge will send out an Order of Dismissal. If you still want your hearing, you must send OAH a written explanation of why you missed your PHC.
You have a limited time to do this. Please look at your Order of Dismissal for instructions.
A time will be scheduled for you to explain to the judge why you missed your PHC. The judge will decide whether you had a good reason.
Can I change the PHC date?
You can change the PHC date if you have a good reason. The judge will decide if the date or time may be changed.
You must call the Agency Representative as soon as possible if you need to change the date or time of your PHC. Their phone number is on the Notice of Prehearing Conference.
OAH can help you find the number for the Agency Representative. Call OAH at 360-407-2700 or 800-583-8271.
If your PHC date changes, OAH will send you another Notice of Prehearing Conference with the new date and time.