People who use psychedelic or “party” drugs often regard them as no big deal. Federal law and Arizona state law dramatically disagree. A conviction for the possession of MDMA can have very serious consequences that will negatively impact the life of an individual for years.
If you’re facing MDMA related charges, you need to understand the potential impacts of a conviction. You also need to understand how to defend yourself against these charges, and how to choose a competent attorney with the experience and knowledge necessary to ruthlessly defend you. Before you speak to the police, here’s what you should know.
MDMA is short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a complex chemical compound used to induce feelings for euphoria. MDMA is also known as molly, ecstasy, beans, disco biscuits, or X. People charged with the possession of MDMA may not realize what these charges mean because they’re unfamiliar with the scientific name of the drug. MDMA is almost always colloquially referred to as its street names.
Arizona has three drug classifications and further stipulations that break down each class. Narcotic drugs are prescription opiates, as well as street forms of opiates like opium itself or heroin. Marijuana is its own class, and since the passage of recreational marijuana, there are far fewer laws to enforce within this category.
Everything else falls under the category of “Dangerous Drugs”. Of the dangerous drugs category, all drugs are regarded the same way with the exception of methamphetamine. Arizona law is designed to specifically target the methamphetamine epidemic with harsher penalties.
Dangerous drugs subject to similar penalties depending on their threshold amounts include some of the following:
- Anabolic steroids
- Benzodiazepine (Xanax) or stimulant prescription drugs (Adderall) without a prescription
- Psilocybin mushrooms
Due to MDMA’s status as a schedule I psychotropic substance, there are no misdemeanor charges relating to MDMA. MDMA use, possession, manufacturing, importing, transporting, and sale are always charged as felony crimes.
- Class 4 Felony – Possession or use of MDMA
- Class 2 Felony – Possession for Sale
- Class 2 Felony – Manufacturing MDMA
- Class 2 Felony – Administering MDMA
- Class 2 Felony – Importing or Transporting MDMA
Although class 4 felonies are regarded as less severe than felonies of higher classes, this doesn’t mean a conviction wouldn’t have lifelong consequences. The penalty for a class 4 MDMA felony is punishable by up to 3.75 years in prison or four years of probation for a first offense.
People who have previously been convicted of similar crimes are subject to mandatory minimum sentences. Factors depending, a second conviction can result in a minimum of 2.25 years in prison with a maximum of 15 years in prison.
This is precisely the reason why every felony relating to a dangerous drug should be taken seriously. Even if someone is able to receive a lighter sentence for their first conviction, should a second conviction ever occur, their experience will be substantially more serious.
First offense require an aggressive defense to avoid conviction if possible. Second offenses require an even more aggressive defense, as the potential penalty always involves a substantial amount of prison time. No one can afford to gamble with their freedom.
Class 2 drug felonies, even for a first offense, often come with a minimum prison sentence of 4 years. Sale, administering (giving to someone without exchanging money), manufacturing, transporting, or importing MDMA is a much more serious crime. Possession charges can come in conjunction with other charges depending on the circumstances surrounding law enforcement’s intervention and investigation.
Whether someone is facing a class 4 felony or a class 2 felony relating to MDMA, they need the most aggressive defense possible. One of the most common defenses against class 4 felony possession charges is the Lack of Knowledge defense. In many cases, people may not be aware that the drugs were on their property.
Ride sharing drivers often encounter scenarios where passengers forget things in the back seat of the vehicle, including their drugs. Friends, guests, or roommates may lose their drugs in the personal space of someone else. The drugs may not belong to the defendant, but to someone else who simply wasn’t around when law enforcement made the discovery.
Another possible defense relates to law enforcement failing to follow protocol during the time of arrest. Individuals who were coerced to speak or make incriminating statements after requesting the presence of a lawyer and being denied have had their rights violated. This violation seriously impacts the viability of charges.
Improper search and seizure can also damage the case against someone charged with possession of MDMA. MDMA is not a drug that officers can “smell” or easily spot. If it wasn’t in plain view and the individual was not observed actively using it, officers don’t have the right to conduct a warrantless search without the consent of the individual.
Individuals with no prior drug convictions may be eligible for alternative sentencing under the TASC program. Rather than spending time in jail, certain individuals deemed suitable candidates can be remitted to a program that requires monthly check-ins, random urine screenings, community service, drug education classes, and twice weekly outpatient group therapy sessions. Participants are also responsible for paying all fees associated with the program.
Not every individual will be a good fit for the TASC program. Lawyers can work with individuals to determine if the TASC program is worth pursuing.
If you’re being charged with an MDMA related crime, you need an aggressive and competent attorney immediately. With years of experience as a former prosecutor the the state of Arizona, Elias Damianakos has the insight necessary to prepare a strong and effective case for individuals facing similar crimes.
Call us now for a free consultation, and don’t speak with law enforcement until you do. The sooner you call, the sooner we can get to work preparing the best possible defense for your case.