Trusted Federal DEA Defense Attorneys Protecting Health Care Providers Against an Overly Aggressive DEA
Prescription drug abuse is the new American epidemic, and lawmakers are under tremendous pressure to take authoritative action toward stopping it.
Accordingly, federal law enforcement agencies are setting their sights on pill mills and widespread prescription fraud, “cracking down” on doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and health care clinics across the country.
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is among the most vigilant of those forces. Long known for its tough tactics against illicit drug dealers on city streets, the DEA is now adopting an equally aggressive posture against less likely “criminals” – medical experts who spend their days helping sick people heal.
Undeniably, prescription fraud is a real concern in this country, and pill mill activity should be condemned. But just as concerning is the DEA’s overaggressive use of investigations for doctors and pharmacies that have not done anything wrong.
Indeed, many of the DEA investigations we’ve seen in recent years have sprung from misunderstandings, trumped-up evidence, or so-called “red flags,” which ascribe sinister motives to innocent behavior without cause.
In their effort to protect the public, the DEA can cast too wide a net, and well-meaning, hard-working health care professionals get snatched up inside. Sadly, even if the DEA ultimately does not take disciplinary action, the impact of a DEA investigation on a doctor or clinic can be destructive.
If you are currently the target of a DEA investigation, please realize that the DEA is a federal law enforcement agency, and it does not represent your best interests. On the contrary, the DEA can (and will) use any and all evidence it can find against you.
We urge you not to face a DEA investigation on your own. It is all too easy to say the wrong thing, miss a filing deadline, or make a critical error that the Administration and its agents will use against you.
Instead, get an experienced team of DEA defense lawyers on your side. Oberheiden, P.C. is a firm of former federal prosecutors who now fight for the rights of doctors and other health care providers against the DEA and other government agencies.
Let us put our experience on the other side to work on your behalf. Let the DEA know you have representatives who can be just as aggressive and will insist on protecting your rights. Contact Oberheiden, P.C. today.
Does DEA Investigations Against Pharmacies or Health Care Providers Require a Warrant?
Whether the DEA needs a warrant to search your clinic depends on the nature of the investigation and whether the DEA is acting alone.
If the DEA is working with another law enforcement agency as part of an investigation, then it must secure a probable cause warrant from a federal court before any search or inspection.
Otherwise, the DEA is allowed to proceed without a warrant, as long as it gets your written informed consent first (and provided that its search pertains to potential violations of the Controlled Substances Act, or CSA).
If you decline to give written informed consent, the DEA can proceed by getting an administrative warrant, which must still come from a federal court but does not require probable cause (so it is easier to get).
You should talk to an experienced DEA defense lawyer about whether withholding informed consent is a good idea in your case.
What Are the Potential Outcomes of a DEA Investigation?
If the DEA believes you are in violation of the CSA, it might take any of the following actions against you, your pharmacy, or your clinic:
- Assessing monetary fines (including “special assessments”)
- Conducting DEA audits and inspections
- Conducting DEA raids
- Criminal charges or imprisonment (may be a joint effort with other law enforcement agencies)
- Requesting voluntary surrender of your DEA Certificate of Registration
- Suspending or revoking your DEA registration
- Suspending your medical license (through your state’s licensing board)
What Might Trigger a DEA Investigation into a Pharmacy or Medical Clinic?
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s “red flags” include:
- Anonymous tips from patients or community members
- Deviations from other doctors’ prescribing patterns
- Serving a large number of out-of-state patients
- Operating during unusual hours
- Adopting a cash-only payment policy for patients
- Failing to keep adequate records
- Seeing an unusually large number of patients per day
- Any other activity the Administration might identify as unusual
Naturally, there are many perfectly legitimate explanations for many of these things, and they do not always suggest a crime. Nevertheless, once the DEA’s suspicion is aroused, your best interest is served by getting the best available legal defense as quickly as possible.
Our DEA Audit and Inspection Defense Attorneys
Dr. Nick Oberheiden is an accomplished attorney, author, and legal correspondent for numerous major media outlets. He is renowned as an authority on issues pertaining to federal health care law, including health care fraud, DEA investigations, and federal enforcement actions. He has successfully defended numerous individuals and corporate clients (including doctors and health care practices) against federal criminal charges and regulatory enforcement actions. Dr. Oberheiden holds a PhD in law, a Juris Doctorate from the UCLA School of Law, and has been trained in negotiation at Harvard Law School.
Bill C. McMurrey is known to his clients as the attorney you call when losing simply is not an option. He is a former Department of Justice trial lawyer, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, the former Lead Prosecutor for Criminal Health Care Fraud, the former Health Care Fraud Coordinator for the North District of Texas at the United States Department of Justice, the former Assistant Attorney General with the Texas Attorney General Office in the Criminal Enforcement Division, and a former Briefing Attorney to Justice W.C. Davis. Bill’s primary practice areas are government investigations (including DEA investigations), federal criminal defense, health care law, antitrust matters, whistleblower cases, and complex litigation.
Lynette S. Byrd defends individuals and corporate clients who stand accused of federal crimes or are under investigation by state / federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration. Ms. Byrd is a former federal prosecutor, and she served for several years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. While representing the federal government, she worked on a number of a high-profile cases, including one of the largest health care fraud cases in her district, and collected millions of dollars for the government on behalf of taxpayers. Today, she puts her experience as a former prosecutor to work for health care providers and their organizations against enforcement actions brought on by the DEA and other federal entities.
If You Are Being Investigated, Talk to the Experienced DEA Defense Attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C. Today
If you are currently under an active investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, we urge you to be proactive in protecting your legal interests. The DEA will likely move aggressively, and it may have already been building a case against you for some time. Please contact the dedicated lawyers of Oberheiden, P.C. as quickly as possible.