Ecstasy, Molly, and other MDMA-based substances are social drugs that are commonly used at raves, clubs, concerts, and on college campuses. MDMA-based drugs are widely known as party drugs for the euphoric feeling users experience once it has been consumed. Although these substances are not accessed as easily or as often as street drugs like cocaine and heroin, the rates of MDMA possession and drug use are gradually rising in the state of Pennsylvania. As a result, state law enforcement and prosecutors have placed an emphasis on charging and convicting defendants in connection with MDMA-based drugs.
If you have been charged with a drug crime involving MDMA, it's important you understand what you could be up against. In this article, we will address (1) the state of Pennsylvania's MDMA laws, and (2) the penalties associated with these crimes. Aside from being informed, hiring an attorney to advocate for you in a court is a must. An attorney will maximize your chances of getting these serious charges either reduced or completely dismissed.
MDMA Laws in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, it is against the law for an individual to possess, cultivate, deliver, distribute, sell, or transport illegal drugs. MDMA is categorized as a schedule I controlled substance in the state, which means that it has no accepted medical use and has a high potential abuse. Therefore, people caught with very little amounts of MDMA will be facing criminal charges.
Simple possession (less than two grams)
In order for a defendant to be convicted of simple possession crime, it must be proven that the defendant possessed the drug. The courts will assess whether an actual or constructive possession has been established in a case.
Actual possession refers to drugs that were discovered on a defendant. If the drugs were found in a person's pocket, for example, it would constitute an actual possession. A constructive possession is established when the drugs were found in a place that you've previously or currently have control of. Your car or your home are examples of constructive possession.
According to state statutes, the simple possession of MDMA-based drugs will be charged as a misdemeanor offense. This crime carries penalties of at least one year in prison and/or the payment of a $5,000 fine, for a first-time offense. In these cases, it is automatically assumed that the drugs confiscated were intended to be consumed for personal use.
Possession with the intent to distribute (PWID)
A person will be convicted on PWID charges when a prosecutor can prove that a defendant had intentions of distributing MDMA-based drugs. Generally, courts assess a number of factors like, the quantity of drugs found, drug packaging, the existence of distribution materials (scales, multiple cell phones etc.), a defendant's drug history etc. to rule out or prove that a defendant was intending to distribute the drugs in question.
Whether or not a transaction was made in these cases is irrelevant. As long as there was an attempt, a person may be convicted on charges of PWID. Also, the vague term “distribute” includes any type of transfer. This means giving some drugs to your friend without charging any amount of money is still considered a criminal act.
PWID is charged as a felony crime. The penalties for a conviction of this offense are harsh, even for a first offense. The severity of the penalties imposed depend on the quantity of drugs confiscated from a defendant.
- Two to ten grams: Up to two years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Subsequent offenses result in up to three years in prison and a $10,000.
- Ten to 100 grams: Up to three years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000. Subsequent offense results in up to five years in prison and a $30,000 fine.
- Over 100 grams: Five years in prison and a $25,00 fine. Subsequent offenses result in up to seven years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with any offense involving MDMA-based drugs, or any drug offense, it is crucial that you retain an attorney. Skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience successfully advocating for defendants who've been in your shoes, and he can do the same for you. Contact him today for help.