DEA Suspensions and Revocations
Dedicated Federal Legal Counsel for Health Care Practitioners Facing DEA Revocations and Suspensions
In nearly any situation involving the federal government, United States agencies are not allowed to simply strip individuals or businesses of their rights, licenses, or legal statuses without a good reason for doing so — and those reasons must be clearly demonstrated as part of a formal legal process. DEA suspensions and revocations are no exception.
Unfortunately, agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are often eager to do just that. They see it as their job to enforce the law and take an aggressive stance against potential wrongdoings or violations, and that approach often leads to overly aggressive action against health care providers who never imagined they’d be in legal trouble with the DEA.
Your DEA registration is critical to your career and your good standing in the medical field. Giving it up isn’t an attractive prospect, and in many cases, it isn’t necessary. Doctors, medical practices, and business owners are often able to defeat attempts at suspensions or revocations by hiring a seasoned team of veteran DEA defense attorneys.
That’s why the DEA agents may first try to get you to simply sign away your registration through a process called voluntary surrender — and it’s almost always a mistake for health care providers to agree to do this.
If you refuse to surrender (as you almost always should), the DEA will likely proceed toward suspension or revocation. It is in your best interest to have an experienced team of lawyers representing you throughout the entirety of that process. It could make all the difference in the outcome.
Health care law is complex, but you have rights, and the DEA has legal burdens it must meet before it can suspend or revoke your registration.
Oberheiden, P.C. is here to hold them to that burden. We challenge their actions against you and your practice, and negotiate outcomes that are designed to be in your best interests. Our ultimate goal is for you to keep your DEA registration, your professional licensures, and your good reputation intact.
Our law firm is comprised of former federal prosecutors who now represent doctors, business owners, and other medical professionals or health care entities targeted by the DEA or other governmental agencies. Having represented the United States government in these same actions, our former prosecutors understand how to best position you for success. Our goal is to keep your career on track and unblemished and we fight for that goal at each and every turn.
You don’t have to accept the loss of your DEA registration simply because an agent told you it’s inevitable. Fight for the business and vocation you’ve worked so hard to build. Contact Oberheiden, P.C. right away.
When Can the DEA Suspend or Revoke Registration?
The DEA is powerful, but its powers are not limitless. It can only take away your registration for specific reasons. These include:
- You falsified information in your application for DEA registration
- Medicare or Medicaid has excluded you from participation in its programs
- You have been convicted of a felony involving a controlled substance
- At least one state has revoked, suspended, or denied your license
- You have voluntarily surrendered your registration
- You have engaged in behavior that goes against the public interest
- Allowing you to continue in your practice poses an immediate danger to public health or safety
In each of these cases, it is not enough for the DEA merely to make an allegation. There is a formal adjudication process that takes time, and throughout that process you have rights that an attorney can safeguard and defend.
Except in cases involving alleged “imminent danger” to the public, you can continue to practice until the adjudication process is resolved.
Responding to a DEA Show Cause Order
If the DEA wants to revoke or suspend your registration, it will first have to formally serve you with an Order to Show Cause. The Order will include a summary of the facts and law relevant to the DEA’s action and an explanation as to why the DEA seeks to suspend or revoke your registration. You must then respond to the Order by explaining why your registration should not be suspended or revoked.
Your response to the Order to Show Cause is extremely important, and it’s essential that you not make mistakes. Responding in a thorough, strategic, and timely manner can make all the difference in the outcome of your dispute. An experienced DEA defense law firm can help you respond prudently so as to put you in the best possible chance for an optimal resolution.
In cases involving “imminent danger” as described above, your Order to Show Cause may be accompanied by an Immediate Suspension Order. If you receive notice of immediate suspension, you should comply with the order but also contact a seasoned defense lawyer as quickly as possible.
DEA Show Cause Hearings
The Order to Show Cause will inform you that, among other things, you have the right to request a hearing in response to the Order and the DEA’s proposed action. If you wish to request a hearing (and in most cases, it is in your best interest to do so), you will need to file that request — formally and effectively — within 30 days. Failure to do so could constitute waiver of your right to a hearing. Likewise, voluntary surrender of your registration will also constitute a waiver of your right to a hearing.
DEA Show Cause Hearings are not unlike the hearings that doctors undergo when challenged by their state’s medical licensing board. It is important to take the process seriously and to get the best possible legal defense in your corner.
Show Cause Hearings are adjudicated by a federal Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Each side presents an argument, which may include admitting evidence and calling witnesses. The DEA has the burden of proof, and the relevant legal standard is a preponderance of the evidence. This standard is lower than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal proceedings, and it generally means that the evidence must show that it’s more likely than not that the alleged legal violation occurred.
If the ALJ finds that the DEA has satisfied its burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence, he or she may enter a formal recommendation that you not maintain your DEA registration. That recommendation then goes to the DEA Administrator, who will consider not only the ALJ’s conclusion but also objections (“exceptions”) made by either you or the DEA.
In making its decision, the DEA Administrator will consider whether you have:
- Complied with applicable federal, state, and local laws
- Any previous convictions (at either the state or federal level) relating to controlled substances
- Maintained effective controls against controlled substances being diverted into unlawful channels
- Experience with handling or distributing controlled substances
The Administrator may also consider any other factors relevant to public interest and safety.
At the end of this process, the DEA Administrator will issue a final decision, which will either reject, modify, or accept the ALJ’s recommendation. You may appeal the final decision directly to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Don’t Delay: Schedule a Free Consultation with the Driven DEA Suspensions and Revocations Attorneys from Oberheiden, P.C. Today
If the DEA has recently served you with an Order to Show Cause or an Immediate Suspension Order, or if you have been advised by the DEA to surrender your registration, we urge you to contact Oberheiden, P.C. for a free and confidential consultation right away.
Our federal DEA defense lawyers are available seven days a week, even on weekends, to talk about your case and how we might help. Our attorney’s federal law services are available across the nation; Oberheiden, P.C. represents practices and practitioners facing DEA investigations all across the country.
Federal DEA Suspension and Revocation Defense Attorneys – Oberheiden, P.C.