DEA Defense Lawyers and DEA Audit Lawyers
DEA Defense Lawyers you can trust for DEA investigations – that’s who we are
The DEA investigates misconduct relating to opioid and drugs. Regardless of the exact reason that drew the DEA to investigate your practice – it’s crucial you understand that this is an alarming issue, and you could be found liable for civil and criminal liabilities. If you lose the DEA case against you, you could even lose your medical license and ability to practice medicine. This is a huge risk, and you shouldn’t take it. Speak to a top law firm who understands how to defend you against the DEA.
If you’re under a DEA investigation, you should avoid the most common mistake: not hiring a DEA defense attorney who can help you. Todd Spodek, and his team of DEA defense lawyers, can help you handle this investigation.
What is the DEA looking for, why you need a DEA defense lawyer
The DEA is currently executing criminal warrants against medical providers and pharmacies across the nation. The DEA used to handle mostly heroin and cocaine issues. But now, the fight has shifted to the national opioid crisis. All DEA cases have in common one basic thing: violations of the Controlled Substances Act – which is a federal felony.
The CSA classified controlled substances in different schedules. Prescriptions of Schedule I medicine raises red flags. Most investigatos look for potentially excess combos of schedule 2 and 3. DEA special agents, and special agents from the FBA work these cases.
You must avoid mistakes in DEA investigations
If you’re under investigation by the DEA – that’s not the same as being guilty of something. It’s possible to be investigated by the DEA, and have no liability outcome. But if you don’t hire the right DEA defense lawyer – that is not possible. Pharmacies, and physicians, under DEA audit – are subject to DEA search warrants, and could be exposed to criminal charges for violation of the CSA. It’s critical you make sure to take this SERIOUSLY.
Take this investigation seriously, hire a DEA Defense Attorney
The moment you become aware about the fact your practice might be investigated, speak to our lawyers. Nothing is worse than continuing to operate as normal. When you become aware of a potential problem, speak to our DEA defense lawyers immediately. You want an experienced DEA defense attorney who can analyze your practices’ records, identify mistakes you’re making – and provide solutions.
For example, if you have a large number of cash paying opioid patients – this could be a red flag!
Sometimes the best thing you can do is take preventative measures, such as being proactive, and asking for a legal opinion from a DEA defense attorney. Compliance is one of the best things you can do. If you do voluntary self-audits, it sends a signal that you don’t have any criminal intent, and simply made potential mistakes.
Do not talk to agents, speak to a DEA Defense Lawyer
People like talking. Many physicians will talk to their friends, or even DEA agents, to profess their innocence or to get opinion. When it comes to a DEA investigation, the more people you talk to —- the more potential witnesses you are creating, who could testify against you. It’s common for prosecutors to subpoena people in your orbit, and interview them about conversations you had with them. Unlike your conversations with your DEA defense lawyer, any conversation you have with someone else will not help you, and is subject to a grand jury subpoena.
Do not wait hire a DEA Defense Lawyer Today
Many people, who are under investigation by the federal government, simply wait too long. Reality is, the earlier you speak to a DEA DEFENSE LAWYER, the earlier your process of protecting yourself begins. The more time you give the government to build a case against you, the more time you self-harm yourself. You must hire a DEA defense lawyer as soon as possible.
There is a multi-agency crackdown on physicians, pain management clinics, and pharmacies, which fill prescriptions for controlled substances. Clinics are being shut down, physicians who dispense the medication are being arrested.
Sometimes the issue ends with just the physician being arrested and charged with a crime. But, often, there are federal and state criminal proceedings. Often, a multi-agency task force is put together to raid a large number of pain clinics. Usually, the DEA, the Department of Health, the AG’s office, and even the police police agency, will be called into the investigation. Often, these will be done initially via inspections/site visits.
These are really raids, which are meant to be done for the purpose of search and seizure, or even possible arrest.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors keep track of narcotics they sell, and to whom they are sold
Popular drugs, like oxy, hydrocodone, roxycodone, perc, xanax, and other medications similar to these are often in the high priority list. Drug chains, and manufacturers, track the number of these drugs sold and distributed. They will usually report a pharmacy, clinic, or physician, that orders a larger amount of these drugs than is usual for the customers of the clinic.
If an inspection is done of a physician’s office, it will be due to the fact an investigation was done by state officials or the DEA. An investigation is usually done because there was one, or more, complaints which were received from patients, distributors, or manufacturers.
During an inspection, physicians, pharmacists, and staff members, are likely to get arrested. Usually, there will be an emergency suspension order which is served by the DEA in order to suspend the DEA registration of pharmacists, physicians, and clinics, involved in the raid. It’s likely that emergency cease and desist orders may also be served by state licensing authorities.
If your DEA registration # is suspended, any narcotics/controlled substances CANNOT remain in your possession. The DEA will sieize them all, and take them away. The DEA agents who raid your clinics are cops, treat them as such. Do not ask for advice. Call our DEA defense lawyers immediately.
DEA Defense Lawyers
[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h3″ question-0=”What happens if my DEA registration and renewal is denied?” answer-0=”All physicians, pharmacists, dentists, etc, who prescribe and dispense medications are subject to mandatory registration with the DEA. This is a length process, and you could face a denial for registration or renewal. This can result in severe consequences. Before they deny your registration, the DEA has to issue an order to show case. It must also grant you a hearing if you ask for one. Responding to a show cause order, and appearing at the hearing, is a complicated process. It should be handled only by a reputable, and qualified, DEA defense lawyer. ” image-0=”” headline-1=”h3″ question-1=”Can the DEA request for surrender of your DEA registration?” answer-1=”When a DEA agent is targeting a practitioner in an audit, or investigation, they will look for you to voluntarily surrender your DEA registration. You’re not required to surrender your registration at this moment. It’s important you take steps to protect your rights and that means hiring a DEA defense attorney. If you’ve been contacted by the DEA, and are being asked to surrender the registration, you should get legal help. If you’ve already surrendered your registration, you need lawyers to work with the DEA. ” image-1=”” headline-2=”h3″ question-2=”Does the DEA have to get your informed consent before doing an audit?” answer-2=”In most cases – yes, the DEA has to get your informed consent. When the DEA wants to get more information about you, it has to get your informed consent before starting an audit. The DEA isn’t required to obtain the provider’s informed consent in scenarios such as the ones below >This is your initial DEA registration application >The audit is being done due to an administrative subpoena >The audit is being done because of an imminent danger to the public health” image-2=”” count=”3″ html=”true” css_class=””]
DEA Defense Lawyers
As everyone knows, the DEA was created in 1973 by President Nixon after the government noticed a huge increase in recreational drug use and drug related crimes. It’s a division of the DOJ, and it’s tasked with enforcing controlled substance laws by apprehending offenders. The DEA is one of the largest and most effective anti-drug organizations in the world.
Besides bringing drug offenders and members of drug gangs to justice, the DEA handles a number of other things
- Managing drug intelligence programs with state, local, and foreign officials
- Enforcing anti drug law international treaties, like the CSA of 1970
- Creating programs to reduce the availability of illegal drugs inside of the USA
- Working with the United Nations, foreign countries, and other organizations, to create + enforce drug programs
- Create educational programs to stop drug abuse in the USA
- Maintain a Most Wanted Fugitives list
How to avoid Criminal Charges in DEA Drug Diversion Investigations | DEA Defense Lawyers
The fact of the matter is, DEA opioid investigations are the #1 reason why healthcare providers are investigated by the DEA. The key to a successful outcome in any investigation is recognizing the signs of an investigation and to immediately consult a DEA defense lawyer. Don’t look for a DUI attorney after drinking too much 1942 don julio tequila, or some other irrelevant criminal defense law firm. Hire a DEA defense attorney. You don’t want someone whose learning on the job, you want someone who has experience.
The earliest sign that you need a DEA defense attorney — and a sign that your practice is under investigation — is when you get a request for patient charters — either from an insurance company or a DEA subpoena. This type of audit is important. Your practice has been singled out based on data comparison to other healthcare providers or a patient complaint. Investigators will look at the patient charts and see if there is sufficient data to justify if the prescriptions were medically necessary.
Another clear sign that you are on the government’s radar is when drug diversion investigators/DEA special agents come to your office. They will ask you questions. If this happens, you must refrain from volunteering for such an interview. You have the right to remain silent, and counsel. Anything you say to a federal agent which isn’t 100% accurate can be used against you, and is considered a federal felony. Even if you feel like you have nothing to do, and are innocent – recognize that these agents are at your practice because they are investigating you for fraud.
DEA search warrants are very common today, more than ever before. In order for the DEA to search your office, a judge has to convinced that there is probable cause the agents will find evidence of a crime at the location. The DEA agents will execute a search warrant against your office – which means you are required to possess and documents and information which have information of a crime. Not every search warrant will specifically lead to criminal charges.
DEA Audits and Investigations
If you’re a pharmacy owner, or some other registrant with the DEA, you may incur the wrath of the DEA, and be the subject of a DEA investigation, or audit. The DEA frequently does these audits to determine your compliance with the Controlled Substances Act. The DEA can do this audit, or inspection, for a number of reasons, such as:
- To investigate your prescribing practices due to a tip
- To investigate deviations in prescribing practices compared to other prescribers
- To inspect randomly, to ensure compliance
DEA audits are routine, but they can lead to criminal prosecution and administrative actions by the DEA, if violations of the CSA are found. If you’re a DEA registrant, you are subject to DEA audits at random, and could face a DEA investigation. We encourage you to contact our DEA defense lawyers immediately. When you work with us, we’ll advise you of your rights, and how to proceed. We can represent you before the DEA, during your DEA audit.
Frequency of DEA Audits
Practitioners are usually inspected once every few years. Inspections can be more frequent if drugs like buprenorphine are prescribed, or if the practitioner has a Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 waiver. Narcotic treatment programs, distributors, and other non-practitioner registrants can inspect an inspection once every 5 years.
DEA Form 82 – DEA Notices of Inspections – DEA Warrants
Unlike criminal proceeding related searches, the DEA doesn’t require a search warrant in order to conduct a DEA inspection when determining compliance with the CSA. If the DEA is conducting a criminal investigation in conjunction with other agencies, it MUST have a search warrant to enter and search your practice/clinic.
DEA field inspections are usually done by the DEA diversion investigator. This investigator is usually a part of the DEA’s control program. DEA audits begin when a DEA Form 82, Notice of Inspection of Controlled Premises, or an administrative inspection warrant, is given to the DEA registrant before the inspection.
Informed Consent Is Required For DEA Audits
If a DEA form 82 is present, then the DEA registrant has to give informed consent before the audit/inspection can begin. Informed consent is a written statement by you, stating the following:
- You were informed of your right not to have an inspection
- Anything incriminating can be used against you in a criminal prosecution
- You voluntarily consent
In some cases, the DEA may not need informed consent to conduct the DEA inspection without a warrant. This administrative warrant is not required for situations like:
- Places applying for their initial DEA registration
- Inspection of books/records, due to an administrative subpoena issued by DEA’s subpoena power
- Administrative inspections where there is imminent danger to the public health/safety
Administrative Search Warrants | DEA Inspections
If the DEA registrant doesn’t given informed consent for an audit, the DEA has to get an administrative inspection warrant from the federal district court. Unlike search warrants, an administrative inspection warrant doesn’t require probable cause. To get an administrative search warrant, the DEA must describe the nature, and extent, of the inspection – and any items they are looking to seize. For example, if you’re selling magic mushrooms, this could be illegal and confiscated, and harm your DEA registration. If the DEA does present a search warrant to conduct the DEA audit/inspection, then the registrant has to comply. Refusal to comply could be grounds for an arrest. If you get a DEA administrative search warrant, you should contact our lawyers ASAP.
Attorneys Help With DEA Audits
Pharmacies, hospitals and any other registrant of the DEA who handles controlled substances could be subject to an audit by the DEA. When a registrant fails such an audit, it could be subject to administrative actions, criminal prosecution and more. The dea registration can be lost if any violations of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) are discovered. The impact of mistakes or not understanding regulations can be severe. It is recommended that an attorney is contacted immediately when notification of a dea audit has been received. This proactive approach is an effective way to avoid problems that could result from such an audit.
Chances Of Audit
There are a number of factors that will contribute to dea registrant receiving an audit. There are some situations that get more attention than others. The list of registrants to be audited is determined annually by the dea. These lists can be quite extensive. It is the goal of every local dea office to complete their audit list by the end of the year. The local dea office is evaluated by the Office of Diversion Control for their rate of audit completions. There is an unwritten prioritization when it comes to determining who should receive an audit. Any registrant who has previous issues with dea noncompliance will receive serious consideration for an audit. The dea will focus on those who prescribe high amounts of buprenorphine and other specific drugs. A physician who utilizes drugs to help patients addicted to opioids will also get attention. The next type of registrant to get attention is someone involved in a practice that involves providing pain medication. Another are physicians who have a practice that involves dispensing or administering drugs instead of just prescribing them. Registrants who don’t prescribe buprenorphine and only write prescriptions for it could get the less attention from the dea.
Warrants and Notices of Inspection
These are not searches designed to contribute to criminal proceedings. The dea is not required to have a search warrant to conduct a DEA inspections or confirm compliance with the CSA. Should the dea inspection be part of a criminal investigation against another governmental agency, a search warrant will be required. The inspections conducted by the dea are done by diversion investigators. They work in different field offices around the United States. They are usually part of the Diversion Control Program operated by the dea. An audit starts when a company is presented with dea form 82, Notice of Inspection of Controlled Premises or an administrative inspection warrant.
Essential Record Keeping
One of the best way to avoid any type of problem when a dea audit is to make certain all records that must be kept are in compliance with applicable regulations. These records and how they are to be maintained are explained in detail in the regulations. When is comes to a dispensing physician, it includes a dispensing log that contains the names and addresses of patients being given or prescribed medication. The amount of drugs dispensed as well as the date they were dispensed. The original acquisition invoices involving controlled substances that a registrant has taken into their office used as stock as well as the date the controlled substances were received must be recorded. The beginning inventory of all controlled substances available in an office, and any new inventory for the past two years needs to be recorded. Should a registrant be dispensing or prescribing buprenorphine, the registrant must maintain a separate patient specific record. They must also maintain copies of all of applicable written prescriptions. All of these records and more must be properly maintained for a minimum of two years from their creation.
The dea is very dedicated to making certain regulations are followed. There is no level of leeway and every detail is examined. Should a registrant discover records that are not properly maintained, they can issue an audit report showing noncompliance. This could result in recommendations for disciplinary actions to be taken. It could involve a referral to the United States Attorneys Office for fines as well as criminal prosecution. Should a registrant knowingly not keep, make or furnish any record required by regulation, they could be given up to a year in prison as well as a fine of up to $100,000. Should the failure be determined to be negligence and a civil violation, it could be punished with $10,000 for each occurrence. The consequences for failing a dea audit will vary based upon the determined level of noncompliance.
There is nothing a registrant can do to prevent a dea audit. It’s possible for an audit to be initiated randomly or because of a complaint. It is recommended a registrant contact legal counsel when notified of an impending dea audit. These legal professionals will know how to answer questions and make certain records are properly maintained. Legal counsel will help protect a registrant’s rights during the entire audit process and more.