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DEA Search Warrant Lawyers

March 29, 2020

There are two types of DEA search warrants that can be used against your practice. If you’re prescribing, dispensing, controlled substances – there are immense legal risks of non-compliance with the CSA. 

When investigating health care providers, the DEA will either use the criminal search warrant, or an administrative inspection warrant.

Both should be taken seriously. But there are differences between the two. Each has potential ramifications.

Criminal Search Warrants

When the dea is working with other federal and state agencies, it has to get a search warrant from a federal judge. In these investigations, providers and their staff are protected by the 4th amendments, which doesn’t allow for unreasonable search and seizure. It means the dea/defense-lawyers/dea-order-to-show-cause-representation/”>DEA needs probable cause. In order to show probable cause, the dea has to submit an affidavit with facts showing there is health care fraud.

Federal criminal search warrants have requirements, and limits as well. For example, a search warrant has to be executed in a specific period of time. It has to be done during the daytime, unless there’s good cause for a nighttime execution, and the warrant has to be returned to a specific judge.

When it comes to patient files, billing information, etc, there are specifics on even how that data is treated. Warrants allow for the seizure of this information and a review of it, at a later time.

If criminal search warrants are issued without probable cause, or if the dea executes the warrant incorrectly, then any evidence obtained can be deemed inadmissible in court.

Administrative Inspection Warrants

The dea/defense-lawyers/preparing-for-a-dea-inspection/” >DEA has the authority to conduct administrative inspections, also known as audits, under the CSA. When the dea conducts an administrative inspection, their agents have several ways of getting information from health care providers.

The first way of getting information is presenting a Form 82. When the dea presents you with a Form 82, it has to get your consent before conducting the inspection. It means there is acknowledgement that the provider is aware, and isn’t required, to submit to the inspection. It also means any evidence obtained during the inspection can be used in subsequent administrative, or criminal, proceedings.

If you refuse informed consent after being presented with a Form 82, then the dea/defense-lawyers/nyc-dea-audits-investigations-lawyers/”>DEA has to obtain an administrative inspection warrant before continuing with the investigation. There are some exceptions that apply. For example, the dea isn’t required to get an administrative search warrant if any of the following apply:

  • the target of the dea-audit-and-investigation-lawyers/”>investigation is an applicant for initial DEA registration
  • the dea issued administrative subpoena for inspections of the healthcare providers books/records
  • there is an imminent threat to public safety

Unlike with criminal warrants, administrative inspection warrants can be issued even without proof of probable cause. The dea-investigation-lawyers/”>DEA simply has to explain the investigation, the item/information needed as a result of it. Unlawfully refusing to comply can result in your arrest. Any provider whose served with an administrative inspection warrant should speak to a qualified dea/defense-lawyers/dea-drug-diversion-lawyers/”>DEA defense lawyer immediately.

The dea is known to conduct random inspections, as well as inspections triggered by whistleblowers. These investigations are administrative in how they begin, but can result in serious consequences:

Regardless of whether you have been served with a criminal search warrant, administration inspection warrant, or Form 82, you must speak to an experienced dea defense lawyer.




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