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DEA Surrenders

Avoid Making a Costly Mistake When Interacting with the DEA; Contact Knowledgeable Federal Attorneys

Healthcare providers tend to accidentally make bad decisions when the DEA comes calling, and one of the worst is the decision to voluntarily surrender your DEA registration.

You’ll find a lot of conflicting advice about DEA surrenders on the internet, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or confused. After all, your expertise is in medicine, pharmaceuticals, record keeping, or business management — not criminal investigations or regulatory proceedings. The prospect of dealing with an agency as large and aggressive as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is intimidating to say the least.

That’s why it is so important that you not face the DEA alone. The administration does not represent your best interests, will not look out for you, and is not on your side.

On the contrary, DEA agents are notorious for examining your files, facilities, actions, and statements in the harshest possible light, often taking an innocent misstatement or mistake and blowing it out of proportion.

The ultimate consequence of DEA investigations can be as serious as criminal prosecution or imprisonment. On the administrative side of things, DEA action can cause you to lose your license, your good reputation, and your career.

There are legal safeguards in place to protect you and your organization against overaggressive DEA action. Likewise, getting an experienced DEA defense lawyer on your side can protect you from your own mistakes — before you make them.

But when you voluntarily surrender your DEA registration, you’re doing the federal agents’ work for them, eroding some of your own protections and acting against your own interests.

In fact, what you must understand is that the DEA will often pressure doctors or healthcare organizations to surrender their registration by making it seem like the only safe choice. In reality, the wisest choice is to hire an experienced team of DEA defense lawyers and let them handle the DEA for you.

Oberheiden, P.C. is a firm that includes former federal prosecutors who now use their experience in the federal government to help the targets of federal investigations instead. We know how the government approaches these cases because we’ve been on their side in the past. By leveraging that insight on your behalf, our defense is designed to put you in the best possible position for a positive outcome.

Don’t surrender your DEA registration until you talk with a defense attorney. Contact our office today.

Contact Oberheiden, P.C. online today.

Why Do Doctors and Healthcare Providers Agree to DEA Surrenders?

Lynette Byrd

Attorney Lynette S. Byrd
Healthcare Team Lead
Former Federal Prosecutor

Perhaps surprisingly, some physicians and healthcare organizations do agree to voluntarily surrender their registration when pressed by the DEA. They usually make that decision for reasons that boil down to two things: misunderstanding and/or fear.

DEA agents can use misunderstanding and fear to their advantage. In a typical scenario, agents will arrive at an office (often without a warrant, which may or may not be required, depending on the nature of the investigation) and begin asking questions about your practice as it relates to prescriptions.

This is an inherently nerve-racking experience. Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, dealing with federal agents in DEA jackets is hardly an everyday experience, and it carries with it a profound sense of intimidation. It’s all too easy to begin answering their questions with imprecise language or incomplete information that, despite your good faith efforts and best intentions, leads to misunderstandings or potential justifications for further investigation.

That’s when the DEA agent will tell you you’ve made a critical error or are otherwise risking real trouble with the law. The agent might tell you it’s in your best interest to go ahead and surrender your registration — using a simple form the agent just happens to have handy — because the administration will simply take it away if you don’t (the implication being that the latter option will be most unpleasant).

Don’t take advice about your legal interests from the DEA. They aren’t your lawyers, and their advice is not given to help you. Just because they make your situation seem hopeless doesn’t mean that it is hopeless. On the contrary, healthcare providers successfully emerge from these experiences unscathed all the time — often by hiring aggressive legal counsel of their own. Emerging unscathed is the goal, and it cannot happen if you voluntarily sign away your registration.

What the DEA Doesn’t Want You to Know

Federal agents have a job to do. They’re hoping you will make that job easier. If they have to proceed against you or your practice (without your voluntary surrender), it’s going to take a long time and a lot of effort on their part.

In fact, the DEA adjudication process against healthcare providers can take many months or even years — and in most cases, you can continue to practice as normal during much or all of that time.

After all, the federal government has the obligation of demonstrating that you’ve violated the law, not the other way around. But when you agree to a DEA surrender, you’re meeting their obligation for them.

The delays involved in DEA adjudication almost always work to the practitioner’s advantage, which is precisely why the DEA wants to skip the delays by getting you to surrender from the beginning.

Voluntary DEA Surrenders Have Consequences for the Practitioner

Losing DEA registration isn’t the only adverse outcome in a voluntary surrender situation — though it’s certainly a significant one.

In most jurisdictions, the state will automatically take action against the practitioner too. DEA surrenders usually result in automatic suspension, restriction, or revocation of state-issued licenses.

If you practice in more than one state, the situation gets even worse, as action in one state often prompts similar actions in another and another, leading to a multi-state administrative mountain the practitioner must now struggle to climb.

Additionally, after agreeing to a voluntary DEA surrender, it may be difficult or even impossible for you reapply for DEA registration and/or licensure in these states.

By refusing to voluntarily surrender, you can keep that first domino from falling right away.

Our Track Record

  • Representation of Pharmacy in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.
  • Representation of Pharmacy in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.
  • Representation of Physician in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.
  • Representation of Physician in DEA Investigation
    Result: No civil or criminal liability; license maintained.

Get Good Advice in DEA Surrenders: Set Up a Free Consultation with the Skilled Attorneys of Oberheiden, P.C.

If the DEA has recently contacted your office about an audit or inspection, or if you have been advised by the DEA to surrender your registration, we urge you to contact Oberheiden, P.C. for a free and confidential consultation right away.

Don’t agree to a surrender until you talk with a lawyer. There are extremely few situations in which surrendering is a good idea. If you’ve already agreed to a surrender, please contact us right away.

Our DEA defense attorneys are available seven days a week, even on weekends, to talk about how we might be able to help with your case. Our federal law services are available regarding cases across the nation. Oberheiden, P.C. represents practices and practitioners facing DEA investigations across the country.

This information has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information may constitute attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Reading of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee similar future outcomes. Oberheiden P.C. is a Texas PC with headquarters in Dallas. The attorney on record limits his practice to federal law.

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