Administrative Hearings Division

The Administrative Hearings Division conducts contested case hearings involving Iowans who have been impacted by an adverse action taken by a state department or agency. During a contested case hearing, individuals may present evidence and testimony to refute the department's action. An Administrative Law Judge will be assigned to conduct the case and will hear all facts surrounding the issue in question. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will issue a proposed decision based upon the evidence provided. The proposed decision may sustain, reject or modify the initial action taken by the department or agency. Any party can appeal the proposed decision to the state agency that initiated the action, and the agency can also review a proposed decision on its own motion. The agency has the authority to sustain, reject or modify the proposed decision.

Nearly two-thirds of all contested case hearings conducted by the Division involve Iowans who have had their driver's licenses suspended or revoked by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT). Of the remaining cases, the majority involve the suspension or termination of entitlements granted to Iowans by the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). In addition to DOT and DHS cases, the Division conducts administrative hearings for nearly all state departments, including but not limited to the Departments of Administrative Services, Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Commerce, Education, Natural Resources, Public Safety, and Workforce Development. The Division also conducts contested case hearings for the Board of Regents, Civil Rights Commission, Iowa College Student Aid Commission, the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, and the Iowa medical, dental, nursing and pharmacy licensing boards.

Iowa law and the Department's administrative rules stipulate how contested case hearings are to be conducted.
Iowa Code Chapter 17A, the Iowa Administrative Procedure Act, provides statutory guidance for contested case hearings and the appeal process.  Additionally, the Department's administrative rules, found at 481 IAC 10, set out the process by which DIA's Administrative Law Judges conduct hearings.  An informational frequently asked questions sheet is also available that helps to explain the contested case hearing process.

Appeals Involving Permits to Carry Weapons and Acquire Firearms

Effective January 1, 2011, the Department adopted new rules stipulating the procedure for contested cases involving permits to carry weapons and acquire firearms.  The new chapter [481 IAC 11] implements provisions contained in Iowa Code section 724.12A, requiring the Department to establish a procedural process through which Iowans who have been denied a permit to acquire firearms or carry weapons or whose permit has been suspended or revoked may appeal the decision of the sheriff of Commissioner of Public Safety to an administrative law judge.  A frequently asked questions document has been developed to address common questions about the process. 

Office Location and Contact Information

The Administrative Hearings Division is located in the Wallace State Office Building.  The mailing address is: Administrative Hearings Division, Wallace State Office Building, 502 East Ninth Street, Des Moines, IA 50319-0082.

Division Administrator

Sam Langholz

(515) 281-6468

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To contact us:

Lucas State Office Building

321 East 12th Street

Des Moines, IA 50319-0083

Phone: 515-281-7102

Fax: 515-242-6863


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