DEA Registration Suspensions and Revocations

Attorneys representing DEA registrants nationwide

Chapman Law Group is dedicated to protecting the DEA registrations of practitioners, pharmacists, treatment facilities, distributors, nurse practitioners, and other DEA registrants. Our attorneys assist clients with:

The DEA may deny, suspend or revoke a DEA registration for the following reasons:

  •  registrant falsified DEA registration application
  •  registrant had a state license suspended, revoked or denied
  •  registrant was excluded from participation in Medicare or Medicaid programs
  •  registrant was convicted of a felony related to a controlled substance
  •  registrant committed an act that is inconsistent with public interest

DEA Suspension Orders & Show Cause Orders

When the DEA takes action to suspend or revoke a DEA registration, they must first serve an order to show cause on the registrant. In certain “emergency” situations, if the DEA finds there is an “imminent danger to the public health or safety,” the DEA may suspend any DEA registration simultaneously with the issuance of an immediate suspension order and order to show cause. The show cause order requires you to show why your DEA registration should not be revoked, suspended or denied. The order will contain a statement of the legal basis and reason(s) for issuing the order and a summary of the facts and law asserted. Much like action taken by state medical boards, the registrant has the right to request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ) to challenge the facts alleged in the DEA’s order to show cause. The registrant has 30 days from the date the order is served to file a request for a hearing. Failure to file the request within 30 days will be deemed a waiver of your right to a hearing, and the DEA may request that final action be taken. Therefore, it is important that you contact an attorney immediately upon receiving an immediate suspension order or show cause order, so that we may preserve your rights and prepare your defense to protect your DEA registration.

DEA Show Cause Hearings

Show cause hearings are held before a federal administrative law judge. Each party has an opportunity to present their arguments. You may admit evidence and present witnesses to support your case. The DEA has the burden of proof to show by a preponderance of evidence that a violation occurred. The ALJ will determine whether it is inconsistent with public interest for the registrant to maintain a DEA registration.

Following the hearing, the ALJ will issue a recommended decision, which is then submitted to the DEA Administrator. If the registrant or DEA disagrees with the ALJ’s recommend decision, they may submit exceptions. The DEA Administrator will issue a final decision either adopting, modifying, or rejecting the ALJ’s recommended decision.

The DEA considers the following factors when determining whether a DEA registration would be “inconsistent with the public interest:

  1. failure to maintain effective controls against diversion of controlled substances into other than legitimate medical, scientific, and industrial channels;
  2. failure to comply with applicable state and local laws;
  3. prior federal or state convictions relating to the manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of controlled substances;
  4. lack of experience in the distribution of controlled substances; or
  5. other factors relevant to and consistent with the public health and safety.

If the registrant is unsatisfied with the final decision, they may appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Why You Shouldn’t Surrender Your DEA Registration

DEA frequently contacts registrants before taking action and attempts to have the registrant voluntarily relinquish their DEA registration in lieu of further action. All too often, registrants voluntarily relinquish their DEA registration because of fear of administrative or criminal action, often without having sought legal counsel.
There are many reasons why you should not surrender your DEA registration. For example:

  • You likely will not be able to obtain a DEA registration in the future
  • You may face state licensing action against your other professional licenses for surrendering your DEA registration
  • You may be excluded from Medicare and Medicaid programs
  • You may be reported to your credentialing committee and may suffer job loss
  • DEA registration surrenders and other disciplinary action is reported to the National Practitioner Databank

More information about why you should not surrender your DEA registration

Our Experience

Many of our attorneys practice professional licensing full-time and are dedicated to helping prescribers and dispensers protect their DEA registration and state licenses (e.g. medical license, pharmacy license, pain clinic license, distributor license, etc.). Our attorneys are experienced in helping practitioners and other registrants defend their DEA registration, both in court and during DEA investigations and inspections. We also assist with application for DEA registration, DEA registration denial, and renewal issues. Our attorneys have been dedicated to helping health professionals for over 25 years. We are passionate about the defense of medical professionals and aggressively protect the licenses, careers, and reputations of our clients.

Please contact us immediately if you receive a DEA order to show cause or a DEA suspension order. Our attorneys can give you immediate advice to help protect you, your practice, and your DEA registration.


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