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DEA Order to Show Cause Representation Lawyers

April 6, 2022 Federal Criminal Attorneys

If you receive an Order to Show Cause, you should immediately contact a DEA registration attorney. You have only 21 days to respond to the Order to Show Cause, and if you fail to respond, your registration will be automatically suspended. The DEA will also post a notice of the suspension on their website.

The 21-day response period is extremely short, so it is important that you act quickly. An experienced DEA registration attorney can help you prepare your response and represent you at the hearing.

How Does the Hearing Process Work?

If you choose to contest the revocation or suspension of your registration, a hearing will be scheduled before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ is an independent officer who presides over hearings for federal agencies like the DEA. The ALJ will review evidence and testimony from both sides and issue a decision about whether or not your registration should be revoked or suspended. If your registration is revoked, it means that it has been permanently canceled by the DEA and cannot be reinstated. If your registration is suspended, it means that it has been temporarily canceled by the DEA but can be reinstated after a certain period of time.

If either party disagrees with the ALJ’s decision, they may appeal to the Departmental Appeals Board (DAB). The DAB is an independent body within the Department of Justice that reviews appeals from federal agencies like the DEA. If either party disagrees with the DAB’s decision, they may appeal to a federal court of appeals in their jurisdiction (e.g., Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals). Finally, if either party disagrees with that court’s decision, they may appeal to the United States Supreme Court; however, this happens very rarely because most cases are resolved at lower levels of appeal.

The hearing process can be very complex and technical, so it is important to have an experienced DEA registration attorney represent you.

What Are the Possible Outcomes of a Hearing?

The ALJ will issue a decision after reviewing evidence and testimony from both sides. The ALJ may decide to:

Revoke your registration; Suspend your registration; Cancel your registration; or Take no action against your registration.

If the ALJ decides to revoke or suspend your registration, you will have to stop practicing as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician immediately. If the ALJ decides to cancel your registration, you will have to stop practicing as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician within 30 days. If the ALJ decides to take no action against your registration, then you may continue practicing as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. However, if the DEA disagrees with the ALJ’s decision, they may appeal it to the DAB. The DAB may then reverse the ALJ’s decision and revoke or suspend your registration. So even if the ALJ decides not to revoke or suspend your registration, there is still a risk that it could be revoked or suspended on appeal. Therefore, it is important that you have an experienced DEA registration attorney represent you at every stage of the hearing process in order to give yourself the best chance of keeping your license.

What Are the Possible Sanctions?

If your registration is revoked or suspended, you will not be able to practice as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. You may also be subject to civil and criminal penalties. The civil penalties for practicing without a registration can be up to $25,000 per violation. The criminal penalties for practicing without a registration can be up to $250,000 per violation and up to three years in prison. Therefore, it is important that you have an experienced DEA registration attorney represent you at every stage of the hearing process in order to give yourself the best chance of keeping your license.

What Are Some Defenses to Revocation or Suspension?

There are many possible defenses to revocation or suspension of your registration. Some common defenses include:

Lack of notice: The DEA must give you notice of the allegations against you and an opportunity to respond before they can revoke or suspend your registration. If the DEA does not give you proper notice, then their decision may be overturned on appeal;

Lack of evidence: The DEA must have evidence that you committed the alleged misconduct in order to revoke or suspend your registration. If the DEA does not have enough evidence, then their decision may be overturned on appeal;

Improper procedure: The DEA must follow proper procedure in order to revoke or suspend your registration. If they do not follow proper procedure, then their decision may be overturned on appeal;

Statutory defenses: There are many statutory defenses that may apply in your case. For example, if you have a valid prescription for controlled substances, then you are allowed to possess them even if they are illegal under federal law. Another example is if you were entrapped by the DEA into committing a crime that you would not have otherwise committed. These are just two examples of many possible statutory defenses that may apply in your case. Therefore, it is important that you have an experienced DEA registration attorney review your case and determine which defenses apply in your particular situation.

What Should I Do If My Registration Is Revoked or Suspended?

If your registration is revoked or suspended by the DEA, it is important that you stop practicing as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician immediately because practicing without a valid license is a crime under federal law (21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1)). You should also contact an experienced DEA registration attorney as soon as possible because there are strict deadlines for appealing the revocation or suspension of your license (21 CFR 1301). An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complex administrative process and give yourself the best chance of getting your license back

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