The Administrative Licence Suspension (ALS) hearing happens in an administrative court in front of an administrative judge. This is a less formal court system than in the criminal case. You have a lot of constitutional rights and procedures that have to be followed in the criminal case. According to DrivingLaws, those do not apply in the ALS hearing because it is strictly a civil case. That may be why an administrative hearing exists because it may be much easier for the state to win than the criminal case. Also, it may be much quicker for the state to get through the ALS than the criminal case.
The ALS hearing is there to determine whether you face a license suspension or not. Those are the only penalties that you face. You do not face any other penalties because it is a civil hearing, not a criminal hearing. The burden of proof or the amount of evidence that the state has to use to win their case is very low. At the ALS hearing, the police officers usually represent DDS, and they have to prove that they had a reasonable basis to believe that you were an impaired driver. They read you implied consent warnings, and you either refused to take a test, or you blew over the limit.
These are the only two issues in an ALS hearing. A judge will determine whether the police officer had a reasonable basis to believe that you were an impaired driver, whether the implied consent was read correctly and whether you refused to take a breath test or blew over the limit.