In a Kansas driver's license suspension case, it is permissible for a party to petition for reconsideration of a hearing officer's administrative order during the 10 days following the hearing date. After that period, the hearing officer has no jurisdiction to modify the suspension order. The decision, however, can be appealed to the District Court within 14 days of the final order. The difference between the two "appeals"? Simple. The 10-day window allows for an easy "cure" if there is an obvious error by the hearing officer that was simply overlooked at the initial hearing. For example, one of the paragraphs on the DC-27 ("pink sheet") was improperly completed or incorrect date listed (on paragraph 8, for instance). The law allows a party to request reconsideration by simply writing a letter with supporting information to the Division of Vehicles. Again, this must be done within 10 days from the hearing date.
In contrast, a "Petition for Review" of the decision must be filed within 14 days to the District Court in the county where the arrest occurred. This filing is more complex and time consuming and involves filing pleadings in court. The advantage here is that you can contest the legal issues involved with the stop of the vehicle. The "car stop" issues are generally not considered by the hearing officer at the initial hearing as these are considered "constitutional issues". Unfortunately, you must challenge these issues in district court. The disadvantage with this procedure is the cost (legal fees and filing fee) and expertise required for a successful challenge in court. This option is often considered too expensive for the average driver.
The simple truth is that most drivers will wisely choose not to appeal their suspension due to the practical considerations listed above. However, the Missouri appeal process is much simpler and less expensive for the petitioner. I would still recommend a lawyer regardless of the issue or state you live in. There are significant procedural differences as well. In Kansas, the burden of proof shifts to the driver for the administrative appeals. In Missouri, the burden falls on the Department of Revenue at the appeal hearing. I will discuss the meaning of "burden of proof" in a separate post. Stay tuned.
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