This page contains comprehensive information about the ECB’s remote hearing process. To skip to the topic that is most relevant to you, click on the section title:
What is a remote hearing?
A remote hearing means that you will be participating from somewhere other than the hearing room using videoconferencing, or when approved, phone conferencing with Zoom. A smartphone or a computer with video and microphone capability is required for the video conference. The remote hearing will be conducted in the same manner as a hearing held in person. A Hearing Officer will preside over the remote hearing, and the issuing agency will be present if requested. You will have the opportunity to submit photographs or other evidence ahead of the scheduled hearing date.
Because of COVID-19, the ECB’s hearings will not be held in person.
How do I request a hearing?
To request a hearing, send your hearing request return form (last page of the citation) to the ECB by mail, or by email to [email protected]. You can also request a hearing online here. Please check your hearing request return form for the deadline prior to submission. If you are beyond that deadline, you must request a belated hearing and explain the reason for your delay. You can submit that here.
How do I know if a remote hearing has been scheduled?
All hearings at this time will be held remotely. Once your hearing has been scheduled, you will be notified of your hearing date by mail, phone, and email when possible. You will receive an email with a link to the remote hearing along with instructions on how to connect to the hearing. If you have not received the email with the link to your hearing 5 days before your scheduled hearing date, email [email protected].
What if I don’t have access to a smartphone or computer with video and microphone capability?
To participate in the remote hearing, you will need a smartphone or a computer with a camera and microphone. If you or someone in your household does not have access to a smartphone or a computer with a camera and microphone, you may be able to borrow a device from a public library. For information about computer and internet device rentals from the Enoch Pratt Library Click here.
If you are unable to secure a smartphone or computer with a camera and microphone from a library, you must contact the ECB at 410-396-6909 to determine if your citation is eligible for a hearing by phone. You must have prior authorization to participate by phone only. Not all citations are eligible for a hearing by phone only.
What if I have trouble joining the remote hearing?
If you are unable to join your remote hearing, contact the ECB tech line at 443-630-9419. Do not call the main ECB line for technical issues because you will not get assistance in time to participate in your hearing.
How to use Zoom
Before your hearing date, be sure to take some time to familiarize yourself with Zoom. Be sure to test your camera and microphone on whatever device you plan to use.
Zoom may ask you to make an account. You do not have to create a Zoom account to join a remote hearing. Signing up for an account is free, but you need an email address. To sign up, visit the Zoom website. Be sure to use an email address that you have access to and that you check regularly.
When it is your time to join your hearing, you will need a meeting ID and passcode. This information will be included in the email that is sent with the remote hearing instructions and a link to the hearing. When you join the meeting, you must enter your full name. Do not use a nickname or other alias.
How do I join a hearing on Zoom?
There are four ways to join a Zoom hearing:
- Through your web browser: Go to zoom.us/join and enter the meeting ID and click “join”.
- Through the Zoom app: Open the app. Click “join”, then enter the meeting ID, passcode, and your full name.
- By email invitation: The ECB will send you a calendar invite with an invitation link to participate by Zoom. Click the link and Zoom will open in a new window. You will then be prompted to enter a meeting ID, passcode, and full name.
- By landline or cellphone: You can join a Zoom meeting by landline or cell phone, using audio-only. Use the phone number in the instructions sent to you by the ECB. Once you dial the number, you will be asked for the meeting ID. Enter the meeting ID followed by the “#” key. This is only allowed for ECB hearings with prior authorization. If you do not have prior authorization, the hearing will be ended and your case will be noted as a default for failure to appear.
What to Expect During a Remote Hearing
As much as is possible, a remote hearing will be conducted in the same way as an in-person hearing. A hearing officer will preside. The hearing officer may make some changes in the hearing procedure, but the ECB’s rules and regulations still apply. All remote hearings are recorded. Here are some important tips for remote hearings:
- Everyone must use their real names – no nicknames or aliases can be used.
- Mute yourself when you are not talking. Familiarize yourself with the mute and unmute buttons before your hearing begins.
- Say your name when you take yourself off mute and start speaking.
- If participating by phone, do not use the speakerphone.
- Speak slowly and clearly. Do not speak over or interrupt others.
- You must make verbal responses. Do not nod or shake your head to answer questions.
- Do not make a video or audio recordings of the hearing.
- Be careful what you say. Assume everyone can hear you and remember that the hearing is recorded.
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Remote Hearing Checklist
Tips for effective remote hearings
Plan to log in early to make sure you do not have connection issues. Remember that turning on your computer, opening a web page, and starting a video conference may take longer than you expect. Make a list of what you want to tell or ask the hearing officer, and keep your paperwork organized.
Use the following checklist to make sure you are prepared for your hearing.
Check your equipment:
- Make sure your internet is fast enough to support audio and video.
- Make sure your internet is working.
- Make sure you have a working camera and microphone.
- Find a quiet space. Use headphones if you have them.
- Leading up to the hearing make sure your device is fully charged or plugged in.
Test the software and practice using it:
- Either download the software or try it in your web browser.
- Watch a short video on how to use the software at support.zoom.us.
Let the ECB know if you have evidence or witnesses:
- Let the ECB know if you have witnesses so that the hearing officer can be notified.
- Your witness can be invited to participate by the ECB with a link of their own to the hearing.
- Send any evidence you wish to submit to [email protected] at least 5 days before the scheduled hearing date.
- The evidence that is submitted will be provided to the hearing officer.
Request an interpreter or an accommodation ahead of time
- Let the ECB know right away if you will need an interpreter or accommodation by calling 410-396-6909 or [email protected].
Log in early:
- Have the meeting ID or link and passcode ready and log in early to make sure you are able to connect. Wait in the waiting room until the hearing officer starts the hearing.
Monitor your equipment during the hearing:
- Let the hearing officer know if you cannot hear or see others in the hearing or if you are having trouble with the software.
- Call this tech line number 443-630-9419 if you cannot connect or communicate with the hearing officer.
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Remote Hearing FAQ’s
- What do I need to participate in the remote hearing process?
A smartphone or a computer with a camera and microphone and the meeting ID and passcode provided by the ECB. You must have that information to log in to the remote hearing.
- I lost connection and dropped out of the remote hearing. How do I get back in?
Follow the same instructions that you used to join originally.
- I joined the hearing on time but I don’t hear anything. What do I do?
Participants will remain in a virtual waiting room until the hearing begins. When the hearing officer is ready to begin the hearing, you will be admitted into the virtual hearing room.
- I tried to follow the instructions to join the remote hearing but I still can’t join. What do I do?
If you are in the virtual waiting room, continue to wait. If you are unable to connect after following all of the instructions, call the tech line at 443-630-9419.
- My hearing is scheduled for a specific time, but what time should I really join the hearing?
You should always join the hearing by the scheduled start time but it is a good idea to join up to 15 minutes early to make sure you are able to connect.
- What do I do if I need an interpreter?
Let the ECB know ahead of your scheduled hearing date by calling 410-396-6909 and leave a voicemail with the citation number and the language needed.
Yes, just like in-person hearings, remote hearings are recorded. It is prohibited for anyone other than the ECB to record a hearing. If you need a recording of a hearing, you must contact the ECB in writing at [email protected].
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