Possession of MDMA in Florida
Possessing less than 10 grams of MDMA, more commonly known as Ecstacy, is a third degree felony. It is important to know that the amount of the MDMA is equal to the weight of the pills. Therefore, although the actual amount of MDMA may be less than ten grams, if the pills way more than 10 grams than the person can be charged with trafficking in MDMA.
To “possess” means to have personal charge of or exercise the right of ownership, management, or control over the thing possessed. In drug cases, a person may be in either actual or constructive possession of the drugs.
Actual possession means that the MDMA is:
- Either in the hand of or on the person, or
- Either in a container in the hand of or on the person, or
- Within ready reach to the person and is under his or her control.
Constructive Possession means the MDMA is in a place over which the person has control, or in which the person has concealed it. To prove the person was in constructive possession of MDMA, the state must show (1) that the defendant knew of the presence of the MDMA and (2) that the defendant had the ability to maintain dominion and control over the MDMA.
The State will have difficulty proving constructive possession in the following situation:
- The defendant drove a vehicle containing multiple people. The police lawfully pull the vehicle over for speeding. One of the passengers throws a bag containing ecstacy pills on the floor. The State will have difficulty proving that either the driver or the passenger constructively possessed the ecstacy, absent any additional incriminating evidence.
What Does The State Need To Prove?
At trial, to prove that a Defendant possessed MDMA, the State must prove three elements to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
- The Defendant possessed a certain substance.
- The substance was the specific MDMA alleged.
- The Defendant had knowledge of the presence of the MDMA.
Penalties for Possession of MDMA
Florida law states that a person who possesses less than 10 grams of MDMA commits a third degree felony. Third degree felonies are punishable by up to any combination of the following:
- 5 years in prison
- 5 years of probation
- $5,000 fine
Additionally, a conviction for possession of MDMA also results in a mandatory one year suspension of the defendant’s driving privileges.
Possession of MDMA Defenses
Fourth Amendment Violations
The police often find mdma by violating a person’s Fourth Amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals from the government engaging in unreasonable searches and seizures. A Fourth Amendment violation may result in suppression of the drugs. This means that the State cannot use the evidence of the drugs gathered by the police officer, typically resulting in a dismissal of the drug charge.
Common Fourth Amendment violations occur in the following scenarios:
- The police did not have probable cause to believe that a traffic infraction occurred.
- The police did not have reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime occurred, was happening or was about to occur.
- The police prolonged the traffic stop to “stall” for a K-9 to arrive at the scene of the traffic stop to sniff around the vehicle.
- The police searched a defendant when he or she did not voluntarily consent to a search.
- The police searched the defendant’s vehicle without his or her consent.
- The police searched a defendant’s belongings without his or her consent when the defendant was a passenger in a vehicle.
- The police conducted an illegal pat down search of the defendant.
- Invalid or no search warrant.
Inability to Prove Constructive Possession
The State often has a difficult time proving that a defendant was in constructive possession of MDMA, typically in joint constructive possession situations (ex. MDMA found in a vehicle occupied by more than one person).
The law regarding possession can be confusing. What facts do and do not constitute possession are determined by case law, and require the knowledge of a skilled criminal defense attorney. The criminal lawyers at Bottari & Doyle will able to apply the facts of your case to the law to determine if the State will have a hard time proving their case. If the State’s case is factually weak, a prosecutor may completely dismiss the charge.
Lack of Knowledge
It is an affirmative defense to the charge of possession of MDMA if the defendant can prove that he or she did not know the substance was MDMA.
If you have been arrested or charged with Possession of a MDMA, in Palm Beach County, Martin County, Broward County or Dade County, contact a
Palm Beach criminal defense attorney from Bottari & Doyle at (561)-588-2781 for a free consultation.