DEA Registration Revocation & Suspension Appeals

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DEA Registration Revocation & Suspension Appeals

DEA Registration, Revocation, and Suspension Appeals


The U.S Department of Justice oversees the Drug Enforcement Administration agency (DEA). The mission of the DEA's Diversion Control Division is to prevent, detect, and investigate the diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals and listed chemicals from legitimate sources. For physicians and healthcare professionals to prescribe, dispense, or administer controlled substances, they must register with the DEA, by completing a submitting DEA Form 224, to receive a DEA Registration Certificate.

Registration with the DEA is based upon your compliance with your respective state licensing and practice laws. The DEA relies on State licensing boards to determine whether you are qualified to dispense, prescribe, or administer controlled substances and to determine which schedules you can dispense, prescribe, or administer. It is important to note that some states require a separate controlled substance number in addition to your medical license. California is a state which requires practitioners to have both a valid medical license and a DEA Registration Number.

Revocation or Suspension

The DEA may suspend or revoke a practitioner’s DEA registration for various reasons, including:

  • A falsified DEA registration application
  • A state license has been suspended, revoked or denied
  • Excluded from participation in Medicare or Medicaid programs
  • Convicted of a felony related to a controlled substance
  • Committed an act that is inconsistent with the public interest

When the DEA suspends or revokes a DEA registration, it must first serve an order to show cause on the registrant. This order will detail the legal basis and reasons for why the DEA is issuing the revocation or suspension. It also requires you to show the DEA why your DEA registration should not be suspended or revoked. 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. 

Show Cause Hearing

Similar to disciplinary actions taken by California licensing boards, the registrant has the right to request a “show cause” hearing with a federal administrative law judge (ALJ) to challenge the facts alleged in the DEA’s order to show cause. At a show cause hearing, each party has an opportunity to present their arguments, admit evidence, and present witnesses. The DEA has the burden of proof to show by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation occurred. The ALJ determines whether you maintaining DEA registration would be inconsistent with the public interest. After 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 recommended decision, they may submit exceptions. The DEA Administrator will issue a final decision either adopting, modifying, or rejecting the ALJ’s recommended decision. If the registrant is unsatisfied with the final decision, they may appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

You have 30 days from the date the order is served to file a request for a hearing. If you fail to file the request within 30 days, you will be deemed to have waived your right to a hearing, and the DEA may request that final action be taken. 

Do Not Surrender!

The DEA may contact you before taking any action in an attempt to have you voluntarily relinquish your DEA registration in lieu of further action. It is common for registrants, especially registrants without legal representation, to voluntarily relinquish their DEA registration because of fear of administrative or criminal action.

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.
  • Your professional license may be subject to administrative discipline
  • You may be placed on Medicare and Medicaid programs exclusion lists.
  • You may be reported to your credentialing committee, which could lead to peer review hearings and/or employment termination.
  • DEA registration surrenders and other disciplinary action will be reported to the National Practitioner Databank.

Timing is Critical. Contact Our California Professional License Defense Law Firm Today!

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. To schedule a FREE initial phone consultation with our California professional license defense law firm, fill out our online form or call us at (650) 212-4900 or toll free at 800-LAW-MDJD (800-529-6353).

Our firm has offices located in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Coast serving clients throughout California.

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