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State-Issued Professional License May Be Forfeited for Violation of Federal Drug Laws
Description Appeals court affirmed that a physician could be required to forfeit his state-issued license to practice medicine as part of the punishment for violating federal drug laws. The physician was found to have used his medical license to assist in the distribution of controlled substances.
Topic Criminal Law
Key Words Drugs; License; Forfeiture
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Dicter, an Atlanta physician, was convicted of selling prescriptions for controlled substances to one customer over 200 times for as much as $500 per prescription. At trial, an expert witness testified that the prescriptions were not written in the course of legitimate medical treatment. Besides being given a prison term and a fine, Dicter was ordered to forfeit his medical license. He appealed.
Decision Affirmed. Dicter's medical license was forfeitable "property" under the drug laws, which allows property to be taken that was used to commit or facilitate the commission of federal drug law violations. Under Georgia law, a state-issued license to engage in a profession, trade, or occupation is a property right. Federal drug laws allow such state-issued property to be forfeited if the property was used to facilitate violations of federal drug laws. The fact that the state of Georgia may have its own proceedings regarding Dicter's right to maintain a license does not impact this legal proceeding.
Citation U.S. v. Dicter, 198 F.3d 1284 (11th Cir., 1999)

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