Over the last several decades, the drug known as “Ecstasy” has become increasingly popular. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that in 2014 more than 17 million persons aged 12 or older reported using MDMA (Ecstasy) at least once in their lifetimes. More recent research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that 7.3 percent of the American population aged 12 or older have used Ecstasy.
Since MDMA, the synthetic drug known as Ecstasy, is classified as a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, being charged with possession can have serious consequences. If you are facing these serious charges, you need an experienced drug defense attorney on your side to ensure that your rights are protected. At Haas Law, we have the commitment, resources, and expertise necessary to protect your rights and build a strong defense to achieve the best possible outcome for your future.
What Is Ecstasy?
In 1914, the German pharmaceutical company Merck patented the MDMA compound that would eventually be known as Ecstasy. MDMA is a synthetic drug that acts as a stimulant and hallucinogen. It can produce an energizing effect, distort perceptions and time, and enhance the senses while increasing self-awareness.
Ecstasy is MDMA in capsule form; however, many capsules that purport to be MDMA actually contain a variety of other substances as well, such as methamphetamine, ketamine, caffeine, ephedrine, heroin, phencyclidine (PCP) and cocaine. Although recent research has shown that MDMA-assisted therapy can be very effective in treating patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), it is still classified as an illegal Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government.
Potential Penalties for Ecstasy Possession
As a general rule, federal law enforcement agencies target large-scale drug operations. That does not mean, however, that you cannot be charged in federal court with possession of a controlled substance.
A conviction for possession of any controlled substance at the federal level carries a potential penalty of up to one year in prison and/or a minimum fine of $1,000. A second conviction is punishable by not less than 15 days but not more than two years in prison and a minimum fine of $2,500. Subsequent convictions are punishable by not less than 90 days but not more than three years in prison and a minimum fine of $5,000.
More often, however, federal law enforcement agencies will charge a defendant with conspiracy to distribute or trafficking if they believe the suspect is part of a larger drug operation. Given the increased use of Ecstasy in the United States in recent years, you risk being charged with a more serious offense if you are caught in possession of Ecstasy by federal law enforcement officers.
The potential penalties if convicted of trafficking in Ecstasy are serious. Because Ecstasy is a Schedule I controlled substance, the potential penalty for trafficking is up to 20 years. If death or serious injury occurs, you face 20 years to life. A second conviction carries up to 30 years or a life sentence if serious injury or death occurs.
In 2001, the sentences for offenses involving Ecstasy were increased by the U.S. Sentencing Commission when they amended the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. In fact, the average term of incarceration for trafficking Ecstasy was more than doubled, from 34 to 73 months, making the possible sentence for trafficking Ecstasy harsher than a sentence for trafficking cocaine.
Potential Defenses against Allegations of Ecstasy Possession
Retaining the services of an experienced attorney as soon after your arrest as possible ensures that your rights are protected throughout the legal process and that all potential defense strategies remain available to you. The defense strategy chosen for your case will be based on the facts and circumstances of your case; however, some defenses used in an Ecstasy possession prosecution include:
- Challenging an illegal search and seizure. If law enforcement officers failed to obtain a valid warrant, or cannot prove that a warrant was not necessary, any evidence obtained in a seizure may be inadmissible at trial.
- Arguing that you did not “possess” the drugs. The prosecution may rely on a “constructive possession” argument if you were not in actual possession of the drugs. Your defense attorney may be able to successfully challenge that argument.
- Challenging the evidence. Allegations of possession of Ecstasy require the prosecution to prove that the substance in question was, in fact, a Schedule I controlled substance. Your attorney may be able to challenge the chain of custody and/or the test results as part of your defense.
Get Help from an Experienced Ecstasy Possession Federal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged by the federal government with possession of Ecstasy or a related charge, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced federal Ecstasy possession defense attorney right away. Consulting with an experienced federal defense attorney from Haas Law early on allows us to ensure your rights are protected. It also maximizes the time we have to prepare an aggressive defense to fight the allegations and protect your interests.
Many defense attorneys work primarily at the state level and are unfamiliar with the federal court system. When facing federal charges, it is important to have a defense attorney with extensive federal experience who can readily navigate through the system and ensure your rights are protected. Attorney David Haas has many years of experience as a former federal prosecutor and as a federal defense attorney and will put his knowledge and skill to work fighting for the best possible outcome for you
Call us at 407-755-7675, chat with us online, or submit our online form today. We understand that time is of the essence when federal law enforcement authorities are investigating you. Calls are answered 24 hours a day so you can schedule an appointment as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and get started on your defense.