Bowie and Crofton Defense Lawyer Handling Ecstasy Drug Charges
Experienced legal counsel for Maryland residents charge with MDMA offenses
Ecstasy (3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a psychoactive, synthetic drug stimulant, and is categorized as a Schedule I dangerous controlled substance. Being charged with the possession, sale, and/or manufacture of ecstasy is serious, and a conviction can lead to time in prison and a loss of your freedoms and rights.
Carey Law Office offers aggressive representation on behalf of clients who are facing drug charges related to ecstasy. We invite you to contact us in Bowie or Crofton to discuss your circumstances, so we can help you forge a plan for the path ahead.
A quick overview of ecstasy
Ecstasy, also known as XTC, MDMA or “Molly,” alters users’ moods and perceptions. It comes in various forms including tablets, capsules, powder and crystal. Many times, the chemical compound MDMA is not included or is included in varying amounts, making it hard to know from one tablet to the next what the effects will be. Ecstasy is often used with alcohol, antidepressants, speed, and other drugs including heroin and cocaine. The combination makes ecstasy use extremely dangerous.
Ecstasy has long been known as a “party” drug. Per the Addiction Center, “Studies suggest approximately 1 out of every 10 college students have experimented with the drug, and the rates of polydrug abuse are far higher among ecstasy users than other groups of drug users.”
Adverse effects of MDMA
Because MDMA increases the brain’s production of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, users are likely to experience a wide of array of side effects that leave users feeling good. As those feelings fade, users are more likely to take another dose, meaning the doses overlap in a person’s system. Over time, a person will require greater dosages to feel those same effects, increasing his or her chance of an overdose.
In the most immediate moments, however, ecstasy can lead to rapid heartbeats, chills, blurred vision, nausea, and problems sleeping. It can also lead to memory and cognitive decline.
Because MDMA affects the body’s ability to regulate its own temperature, users can experience sudden spikes in their temperature. This increases the risk of organ failure and death. The drug also tends to make people feel more trusting, which can lead to poor decision-making.
Common charges involving ecstasy
Ecstasy is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means it has no recognized medical value, is likely to be abused, and cannot be used safely under medical guidance. The most common drug charges associated with MDMA include:
- Possession. Since Schedule I drugs are illegal, in any amount, even possessing a single ounce of ecstasy will constitute a felony charge. Possession crimes include personal possession and having the drug on your property.
- Distribution. Transferring ecstasy, through any means, to another person constitutes distribution of illegal narcotics. Distribution is handled more seriously than a possession charge.
- Manufacturing. Simply having the ability to manufacture the drug can be enough for charges to be brought against you. There’s no requirement that drug be produced to bring a manufacturing charge.
- Trafficking/sales. If you buy or sell ecstasy in large quantities, that constitutes trafficking. Trafficking offenses are typically treated quite harshly upon conviction.
Conspiracy to commit any of these offenses is a related drug offense. It is possible that you will be charged with both conspiracy AND another drug offense.
Federal sentencing for ecstasy charges
In 2001, the US Sentencing Commission changed the guidelines so that ecstasy crimes are treated more severely than cocaine and almost as severely as heroin. The penalties for ecstasy possession are now five-years for less than half a pound and ten-years for more than 2,000 grams. The average federal sentence for trafficking in ecstasy doubled from nearly two years to five years.
One argument defense lawyers can make, subsequent to the Supreme Court decision in US vs. Booker (2005), is that the sentencing provisions are not mandatory – they’re advisory. Judges have the authority to give lower sentences, though they could give higher sentences, too. In our current climate, however, it is far more likely that you will have the book thrown at you for an ecstasy related crime. Typically, federal sentences for drug crimes are harsher than state sentences, too.
Maryland’s regulation of ecstasy
Maryland criminalizes the possession of ecstasy and other drugs. As with federal charges, ecstasy is classified as a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance in Maryland. Under the current laws, it is illegal possess, administer, obtain, or attempt to control ecstasy. Violations are considered misdemeanors with the following penalties:
If you are convicted simple possession – for example, if you are found with one or two pills on your person – your penalties are as follows:
- First offense: up to one year in prison, and/or fines up to $5000
- Second and/or third offense: up to 18 months in prison, and or fines up to $5000
- Fourth or subsequent offense: up to 2 years in prison, and/or fines up to $5000
Convictions for distributing, possessing with intent to distribute, or dispensing ecstasy are felonies in Maryland. Penalties can include:
- First and/or second offense: up to 20 years in prison, and/or up to $15,000 in fines
- Third offense: up to 25 year in prison, and up to $25,000 in fines
- Fourth offense: up to 40 years in prison, and up to $25,000 in fines
Consequences for an ecstasy related conviction
Convictions often carry long-term sentences in federal or state prisons. There are many other consequences aside from fines and prison time – consequences that can, and will, affect you for the rest of your life.
A conviction of any ecstasy-related crime will stay on your record permanently. This can make it extremely hard to obtain a job after release, difficult to get a loan, qualify for housing, or get an education. You will lose any professional license you have, and be unable to carry a firearm.
Convictions can affect custody rights, if a judge feels that you cannot care for your children. You may be forced to endure supervised visitation, or barred from seeing your children entirely.
Finally, if someone dies or is harmed in any way, you could face additional fines and penalties, as well as a civil lawsuit by the victim or his or her family.
Defense for MDMA drug charges
In every case we take, we fight to have our clients’ charges dropped entirely. Sometimes, however, this is not a possible outcome, in which case we do whatever is within our power under the law to have your charges reduced. One common defense method is having the alleged evidence suppressed in your case. Suppression means that the criminal court rules that the evidence about the drug’s involvement in the crime is excluded. Exclusion means the evidence can’t be introduced during the court trial.
Suppression of evidence is usually done based on a motion by the criminal defense lawyer. The motion states that the evidence was illegally obtained or is defective due to one or more of the following reasons:
- A violation of the Fourth Amendment. This Constitutional Amendment requires that the police either have reasonable cause that a crime has been committed to conduct a search or that a warrant has been issued based on probable cause. Many times, law enforcement violates this Amendment in a rush to seize any drugs.
- A violation of the Fifth Amendment. Any evidence obtained through statements an accused gave in violation of the accused’s right not to incriminate himself/herself can be suppressed.
- Failure to account for the chain of the custody of the drugs. Once seized, law enforcement must account for how each person/entity handles the drugs so that it’s certain there is no tampering with the evidence.
- Other Constitutional, legal, and factual reasons why evidence should be suppressed.
At every level, the prosecution must prove each element of the criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is a reasonable doubt, the jury is required to acquit the defendant.
Prosecutors will seek severe sentences for anyone convicted of possessing, selling, manufacturing, or distributing ecstasy. That is why experience matters in your case. It’s important to speak with defense counsel promptly while the memory of the events such as the seizure of the evidence are fresh in your mind.
Contact Carey Law Office if you are facing ecstasy-related drug charges
At Carey Law Office, we are respected for our ability to assert your rights and fight the government’s case. Our offices are located in Bowie and Crofton. We represent defendants throughout Maryland. Please call 301-464-2500 or complete the contact form to schedule a confidential consultation with a drug charge defense attorney today.