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United States DEA Investigation Attorney FAQs

U.S. DEA registration defense lawyer frequently asked questions

Lawyers Answer Frequently Asked Questions About the DEA, Medical Providers, and Controlled Substance Registration

The Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, LLC represents medical providers and other professionals who may be investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). With our understanding of the Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and other laws, as well as our experience assisting licensed professionals in investigations related to drug diversion or drug trafficking, we can answer any questions you may have about DEA matters.

What Can Trigger a DEA Investigation?

DEA audits or inspections are performed on a regular basis to ensure that providers such as physicians, dentists, and pharmacies are following the correct procedures when handling controlled substances. The DEA may also choose to investigate a provider based on suspicions of drug diversion or other illegal activity, such as unusual patterns of prescriptions that may indicate that a medical office is a "pill mill" that is unlawfully prescribing controlled substances.

What Is Drug Diversion?

Prescription drugs pass through a supply chain that starts with the manufacturer and ends when a drug is taken by a patient for legitimate medical purposes. Drug diversion includes any activity that removes controlled substances from this supply chain and causes them to be distributed or used illegally. Drug diversion may include prescribing or dispensing drugs to patients for non-medical purposes, or it may involve participation in a drug trafficking ring that illegally distributes and sells controlled substances inside or outside the United States.

What Kinds of Professionals Can Be Targeted by a DEA Investigation?

Any providers who prescribe or dispense controlled substances may be investigated by the DEA, including in cases where they are suspected of writing or filling prescriptions illegally or where they may have participated in a conspiracy to distribute, dispense, or possess a controlled substance. Medical offices, hospitals, or dental practices may be investigated based on the prescriptions they have issued or their history of administering controlled substances to patients. Doctors, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants may come under scrutiny based on the prescriptions they have written. Pharmacies may be investigated to review the practices they follow when filling prescriptions and dispensing controlled substances. Even veterinarians may be investigated based on their practices of storing controlled substances and using them when treating animals.

Do Medical Providers Have to Comply With DEA Requests?

In many cases, a provider will be asked to provide informed consent to the DEA and allow agents to proceed with an audit or inspection. A provider can refuse to give consent or consult with an attorney before allowing an inspection. If the DEA presents a provider with an administrative search warrant, a subpoena, or a search warrant issued as part of a criminal investigation, the provider is required to comply under penalty of law. During an audit or investigation, our attorneys can advise you on what records you should turn over and what other information you should provide to the DEA.

Should I Surrender My Controlled Substance Registration to the DEA?

DEA agents may ask a provider to voluntarily give up their DEA registration to avoid consequences such as the suspension or revocation of their registration or criminal prosecution on drug charges. However, doing so will usually make it harder to reapply for DEA registration in the future, and the loss of a controlled substance registration can lead to other consequences, such as the suspension or revocation of a state medical license. Our lawyers can advise you on whether you can take other steps to maintain your DEA registration and protect yourself from further penalties.

What Is an Order to Show Cause?

The DEA will usually initiate enforcement actions, such as the suspension or revocation of a controlled substance registration or the denial of a DEA registration application or renewal, by issuing an Order to Show Cause. After receiving an Order to Show Cause, a registrant will have 30 days to ask for an administrative hearing or provide a written response stating why they should be able to maintain their DEA registration. A registrant will typically be able to keep their DEA registration during these proceedings unless the DEA has also issued an immediate suspension order based on claims that the registrant presents a risk to public health or safety.

Our National DEA Investigation Attorneys Can Answer Your Questions

If you have additional questions about how you should proceed during a DEA inspection or how you can protect your DEA registration, contact the Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, LLC and schedule a free consultation by calling 630-310-1267. We will review your case and advise you on the steps you should take, and we can provide you with legal representation in DEA investigations and hearings, as well as matters related to your professional license, provider status, and board certification.

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