Possession of MDMA, more commonly known as Ecstasy, is an offense of the most serious nature in Illinois. In 2002, this drug was deemed responsible for a rash of deaths amongst Illinois teenagers. Since then, the legislature has responded by increasing the possible penalties for possession of MDMA and including the drug in the list of punishable drugs causing drug induced homicide. Possessing just one tablet can result in a felony conviction and the possibility of three to six years in prison. Those found in possession of 15 or more tablets face a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison.
A charge of possession of MDMA can result in loss of your freedom, livelihood, and future. With the high stakes involved in this offense, you need an experienced drug defense attorney. At The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C., we have devoted decades to the defense of those found in possession of all manner of illegal substances. Our top notch investigative team will uncover any and all exculpatory evidence to assist in your defense. Attorney David L. Freidberg and his skilled attorney staff will use their years of experience in the field to meticulously craft the most zealous of defenses, sometimes involving Fourth Amendment challenges, lack of possession arguments, or negotiation for diversion programs.Overview of MDMA Possession Laws in Illinois
The crime of possession of MDMA or ecstasy is set out in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, 720 ILCS 570/402. Under this provision, possession of any substance containing the compounds present in MDMA is illegal.
Ecstasy is considered a Schedule I drug. A Schedule I controlled substance is defined as a substance that 1) has a high potential for abuse; and 2) has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S. or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision. See 720 ILCS 570/203. Generally, all recreational drugs, like Ecstasy, fall under Schedule I because they have no accepted medical use.
Penalties for Possession of MDMA in Illinois
Possible penalties for possession of ecstasy will depend upon the quantity of the drug seized. The following is a breakdown of penalties per drug quantity:
- 0-15 tablets—Class 4 felony, 1-3 year sentence
- 15-200 tablets—Class 1 felony, a mandatory minimum of 4-15 years in prison
- 200-600 tablets—Class 1 felony, a mandatory minimum of 6-30 years in prison
- 600-1,500 tablets—Class 1 felony, a mandatory minimum of 8-40 years in prison
- Over 1,500 tablets—Class 1 felony, a mandatory minimum of 10-50 years in prison
Penalties will increase if the offender has been previously convicted of a drug offense, was found in possession of the illegal substances near a school or place or worship, a gun was also present, or other criminal activity was a foot.
Frequently, those found in possession of large amounts of MDMA will be charged with distribution of the drug. The crime of Delivery of Ecstasy is detailed in 720 ILCS 570/401. Under this crime, delivery of even a half a tablet can result in a mandatory minimum three year sentence. Distribution of just 15 tablets is considered a Class X felony, the most serious under Illinois law, and will result in a sentence of between six and 30 years. Probation is not an option for defendants convicted of a Class X felony.Challenging the Elements of Possession
A primary issue in any possession of MDMA case is whether the defendant was actually in possession of the drugs. To obtain a conviction for MDMA possession, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had physical dominion and control over the substance. Generally, you are considered to possess something if it is in your hand or locked in a safe to which you have the key.
Illinois courts have recognized what is known as construction possession, wherein a person will be found in possession of a controlled substance if they know of its presence and have the intent and capability to maintain control and possession of it, or have exclusive control of the area where the controlled substance in located.
The issue of possession is not always clear cut. Complexity arises in some MDMA possession cases, particularly those involving passengers in vehicles charged with the crime. A knowledgeable drug defense attorney can examine the facts of your case and uncover the strongest possible argument for your lack of possession of the MDMA.Shedding Light on Fourth Amendment Violations
Another equally important issue in ecstasy possession cases is how the drugs were found. Illinois law requires that police officers have either a valid search warrant or consent of the property owner/occupant in order to conduct a search, unless a recognized exception exists. Some exceptions include search and frisks, wherein a police officer can conduct a pat down if they reasonably believe the suspect may be armed. Additionally, officers can search a vehicle with probable cause.
Many MDMA possession cases hold the potential for Fourth Amendment violations. A skilled criminal defense attorney will scrutinize the facts of the search and seizure to uncover any police misconduct that may result in dismissal of charges.Exploring Diversion Options
Several programs exist that are aimed at rehabilitating drug offenders, rather than seeking their incarceration. At The Law Office of David L. Freidberg, P.C., we analyze each drug case for applicability of programs such as:
- Drug court—for those facing MDMA possession charges that have possible addiction issues, drug court provides the offender with counseling, drug screening, and drug treatment and rehabilitation. Regular court monitoring helps drug court participants stay on track. Successful completion of the drug court program can result in dismissal of all charges, leaving you without a felony record.
- First offender probation—first time offenders charged with possession of small amounts of an illegal substance may be eligible for the first time offender probation program. The program allows defendants to avoid jail time and resolve a felony without it resulting in conviction. Treatment for addiction is a component of the program. Expungement may additionally be a possibility.
- TASC probation—TASC probation, or Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities, is designed to allow individuals to focus on causes underlying their criminal behavior. Treatment for substance abuse is often a central focus. TASC case managers prepare individualized plans to help participants overcome their own personal challenges. Successful completion of the program will result in your conviction being vacated. Enrollment in this program is not often granted and the dedicated assistance of a defense attorney is generally required to gain admission.
Attorney David L. Freidberg has over 20 years experience defending clients from a wide range of drug charges, including ecstasy possession. The seasoned attorney team at The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C. devote countless hours to preparing a defense of unsurpassed excellence to your MDMA possession charges. Our intricate understanding of the laws of possession, knowledge of the local court system, and unmatched dedication will provide you with the best possibility for a successful case outcome. Call us today at (312) 560-7100 or toll free at 1 (800) 803-1442 to schedule your free consultation today.