Possession of MDMA in Florida

Known by the street name Ecstasy, MDMA stands for 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine, which is a highly addictive hallucinogenic substance.

MDMA is designated as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medical use in the United States.

It is a Third Degree Felony to possess less than ten (10) grams of MDMA.

Trafficking Threshold

Possession of ten (10) grams or more of MDMA is prosecuted as Trafficking in MDMA. Importantly, the weight is determined by how much the MDMA or Ecstacy pills weigh, not by how much pure MDMA is contained within the pills.

As a result, a person could have several pills that contain less than ten (10) grams of pure MDMA, but because the pills collectively weigh more than ten (10) grams, the person would be guilty of Trafficking in MDMA under Florida law and subject to a minimum-mandatory prison sentence.

And because of the serious consequences for such a simple crime, it is important to know the:

Penalties for MDMA Possession

The crime of Possession of MDMA is classified as a Third Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 3 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Possession of MDMA, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Five years of probation,
  • Five years in prison, or
  • A fine of up to a $5,000.

Driver's License Suspension

Pursuant to Florida Statute 322.055, any person convicted of Possession of MDMA will have their driver’s license or driving privilege revoked for one year by the Florida DHSMV.

Defenses to MDMA Possession

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific or common defenses to the crime of Possession of MDMA are:

Constructive Possession

If the MDMA was found in a place where more than one person had access, the prosecutor would have to comply with the law of constructive possession, which requires the prosecutor to prove the following two elements before you can be convicted of Possession of MDMA: [1]

  1. Knowledge of the MDMA's presence;
  2. Dominion and control over the MDMA.

Below are scenarios where it can be argued the prosecutor could not meet their burden of proving constructive Possession of MDMA.

Scenario 1: You were stopped while driving a friend's car and police find MDMA in the glove box, they would be unable to convict you of Possession of MDMA unless they had some proof that you knew the MDMA was present.
Scenario 2: You were driving your car, had a friend with you, and your friend takes a bag of MDMA and places it at his feet. The police then stop you, see your friend's bag, and arrest both of you. They should be unable to convict you of Possession of MDMA because even though you knew the MDMA was present, your friend is the only person who exercised dominion and control over it.

Illegal Search and Seizure

More often than not, law enforcement exceed the scope of their authority and require people to submit to a vehicle, home, or body search; or they may coerce a person into agreeing to a search. If we can prove that either instance occurred, the courts will suppress the resulting evidence as having been illegally obtained.

Other suppression possibilities that may present themselves are: if law enforcement obtained a search warrant in bad faith or if you were arrested without probable cause.

Lack of Knowledge

It is an affirmative defense to the crime of Possession of MDMA if you can prove that you did not know the substance in your possession was MDMA. Importantly, this defense requires you to testify to your lack of knowledge of the substance's illegal nature. [2]

Overdose Defense

Any person who is experiencing a drug-related overdose and needs medical assistance, or a person assisting the person that needs medical assistance, is immune from prosecution for Possession of MDMA if it can be shown the evidence was obtained as a result of the overdose and need for medical assistance. [3]

Valid Prescription Defense

Given how rarely MDMA is lawfully prescribed, this defense would seldom be available. However, in the rare instance where a valid MDMA prescription can be produced that pre-dated your arrest, you will have an absolute defense to the MDMA charge. [4]

Temporary Possession

The defense of temporary possession can be raised where a person takes momentary, temporary, or transitory possession of MDMA from the true owner. Under such circumstances, the person is not considered to be in legal possession of the MDMA because the person never exercised complete dominion and control over the MDMA. [5]

Examples of temporary possession are when a person is handed MDMA by the true owner and asked to hide it during a police encounter, such as a traffic stop; when holding MDMA in the presence of a drug dealer for the sole purpose of verifying or testing the MDMA prior to purchasing it; or when passing the MDMA from the owner to a third person.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been charged or arrested with the crime of Possession of MDMA in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. GG v. State, 84 So. 3d 1162 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2012)
  2. Florida Statute 893.101
  3. Florida Statute 893.21
  4. Florida Statute 893.13(6)(a)
  5. Campbell v. State, 577 So. 2d 932 (Fla. 1991)