DEA Audits and DEA Inspections Lawyers - Oberheiden, P.C.

DEA Audits / Inspections

Reputable Legal Defense and Effective Advice for Protecting Your Best Interests in DEA Inspections and DEA Audits

Finding yourself under DEA audit, DEA inspection, or investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency is a serious and terrifying prospect for anyone. But when people think of DEA suspects, they usually imagine back-alley dealers, drug cartels, and other illicit peddlers.

The DEA’s reach expands far beyond the streets, however, and into places of professionalism and prestige — pharmacies, doctor’s offices, hospitals, and record keeping agencies.

Like any federal law enforcement agency, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is equipped with tremendous, almost limitless power, and they are intensively aggressive in exercising that power. And more often than many people realize, they use it against healthcare professionals right here in the United States.

If you or your medical practice is currently under DEA audit or inspection — or if you have reason to believe you may be under suspicion or an investigation that might soon lead to an audit — it is in your best interest to seek experienced legal counsel right away.

While many DEA audits are routine, the unsettling truth is that when federal law enforcement agents begin digging around in private practices and their files, they often find a way to raise red flags.

Those red flags can be highly technical in nature and often come as a surprise, but because the DEA is so powerful and aggressive, you must take them seriously. The consequences of an adverse outcome are severe.

Acting without legal representation, healthcare professionals and organizations often make innocent mistakes that may lead to full-fledged and altogether unnecessary investigations or allegations of misconduct. Those allegations can stain a hard-earned professional reputation for years to come, even if they never lead to criminal consequences.

There are consequences outside of the criminal justice system too. If an audit or investigation goes the wrong way, the organization could lose its DEA registration, and doctors and pharmacists could lose their licenses (and thus their careers) in the process. Having the right legal representation on your side can often have a determinative influence on whether these proceedings go “the wrong way” — and that’s why it’s so important that you act sooner rather than later to protect your business, your reputation, and your way of life.

Oberheiden, P.C. is an experienced team of federal law defense attorneys — including lawyers who used to work for the other side. Our former federal prosecutors bring invaluable insight and skill to the table, leveraging our experience for your benefit from Day One.

Our mission is to protect your DEA registration, your professional licenses, your good name, your freedom, and your career. Let us step in and protect you from the moment a DEA audit or investigation begins. Contact our office today.

Aren’t DEA Audits Routine? Do I Need to Worry?

The DEA does perform routine inspections and audits as part of its normal course of operations — just like the IRS and many other federal agencies do. In fact, DEA inspections tend to occur every three years or so.

But just as with the IRS, a routine audit can lead to real problems or concerns even when no one has done anything wrong. Sometimes, all it takes is a paperwork error, a misfiling, an innocent mistake, an accidental misstatement, or any of the other kinds of human errors that lead to overblown outcomes every day.

While it’s best to proceed in a rational, clear-headed, and calm fashion, you shouldn’t approach a DEA audit casually. When mistakes are made the outcomes are potentially devastating, and could even result in criminal prosecution if there’s any suspicion of a Controlled Substances Act (CSA) violation. And as with many labyrinthine acts of federal legislation, the CSA is thorny and easier to violate than you might think.

The DEA has incredible authority and won’t hesitate to use it against you or your practice. Protect yourself. Stay ahead of DEA suspicion. Get sound legal advice that you can count on at each step along the way.

Does the DEA Need a Warrant for Inspections?

If the DEA is working with other law enforcement agencies as part of a criminal investigation that involves you or your practice, they will need a formal criminal search warrant to inspect your offices or clinic.

However, not all DEA actions are criminal proceedings so the agency doesn’t always have to act with a criminal search warrant. Even though violations of the CSA can ultimately result in criminal prosecution, the DEA does not need to get a warrant to conduct an inspection to determine CSA compliance, provided the DEA is working alone.

So the bottom line is, if they are working alone the DEA can proceed without a warrant. This fact often comes as surprise to hardworking healthcare professionals who suddenly find themselves under a spotlight.

In lieu of a warrant, the DEA will file a Form 82 (Notice of Inspection of Controlled Premises) — or, in some cases, an “administrative inspection warrant” under the DEA Diversion Control Division — and that is sufficient for initiating many DEA audits and inspections.

Do Healthcare Providers Have to Cooperate with DEA Audits and Inspections?

This depends on the nature of the investigation. If the DEA is acting alone and conducting the audit or inspection without a warrant, then the agency will have to get your informed written consent in order to proceed.

Among other things, your informed written consent stipulates that:

  • You have a constitutional right not to have the administrative inspection.
  • You have been informed of this constitutional right.
  • Any incriminating information discovered during the inspection can be used against you.
  • You have given voluntary consent to the search, audit, or inspection.

In these cases, you can decline to consent to the inspection. If you do refuse consent, the agency will have to secure either an administrative inspection warrant (which does not require probable cause and is therefore fairly easy for the DEA to get) or a formal criminal search warrant (which does require probable cause) from a federal court.

If they have either warrant in hand, the DEA can proceed without your informed consent, and refusal to cooperate could result in your arrest. (In either case, however, the search is limited to the scope specifically authorized by the warrant. Generally speaking, an administrative warrant will have a more limited scope than a criminal search warrant.)

An experienced DEA defense attorney can help you decide whether it’s a good idea to give informed consent in your situation, and can also create a sound strategy for responding either way.

Contact Oberheiden, P.C. online today.

A Glimpse at Our Track Record

  • Representation of Pharmacy in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.
  • Representation of Pharmacy in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.
  • Representation of Physician in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.
  • Representation of Physician in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.

Have You Been Notified of a DEA Audits? Schedule a Free Consultation with Oberheiden, P.C. Today

If you are undergoing a DEA audit or inspection (or believe you may be subjected to a DEA inspection soon), we invite you to contact Oberheiden, P.C. for a free and confidential consultation right away.

Our federal defense attorneys are available seven days a week, even on weekends, to talk about how we might be able to help with your case. Our services are available for federal law cases across the nation; Oberheiden, P.C. represents clients facing DEA investigations across the country.

Oberheiden, P.C.

This information has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information may constitute attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Reading of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee similar future outcomes. Oberheiden, P.C. is a Texas PC with headquarters in Dallas. Mr. Oberheiden limits his practice to federal law.

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