Ecstasy Lawyer In Des Moines
Possession of a controlled substance is a drug crime. If you've been charged with possession of MDMA, molly, or ecstasy, you need an Iowa ecstasy lawyer.
At Clark & Sears Law, we defend the rights and liberties of good people who are accused of bad things.
An Iowa lawyer for possession of MDMA might be able to help you avoid conviction. If a judge or jury acquits you, then you could save thousands of dollars in fines and surcharges. Similarly, if a judge or prosecutor dismisses the charges, you could go home to your family. Going home is better than going to jail.
Get out of trouble and get back to life. Call us to set up a free consultation now at (515) 200-2787. A receptionist is available 24/7 to take your call.
What is Ecstasy?
Throughout this page, I'm going to use the words "ecstasy," "molly," and "MDMA" interchangeably.
MDMA is a recreational stimulant drug with psychoactive effects. Molly causes altered sensations, empathy, and general pleasant feelings. It can also cause side effects such as addiction, paranoia, and hyperthermia. Hyperthermia and dehydration can cause death. MDMA "crash" can leave users feeling tired and depressed. While there are no currently accepted medical uses in the United States (including in Iowa,) there has been some research into using MDMA to treat severe PTSD. (Source for this paragraph.)
For purposes of Iowa Code Chapter 124, ecstasy is 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine.
Elements of Possession
MDMA is a controlled substance in Iowa. Possessing molly is illegal.
In order to prove you guilty, the State of Iowa usually must prove that you:
- Possessed MDMA
- Knew that it was MDMA
There are exceptions -- see below, "conspiracy to possess ecstasy." The government can convict you of possessing a substance even if you never actually get or see that substance. That doesn't happen very often, though.
One issue that might come up is misidentification of MDMA. In 2020, the State of Iowa started charging defendants who had pills that defendants believed were "ecstasy" with possession of methamphetamine. It is possible that the State is using either defective testing methods or a defective known positive sample. There might be issues with DCI's cross-contamination protocol. It is also entirely possible that sellers are misleading Iowa drug consumers about the substances they're purchasing and ingesting -- this is a risk inherent to our current criminalization paradigm.
If Iowa accuses you of ecstasy possession, be aware: they might surprise you with a methamphetamine charge.
Defending a Misidentification Case
Can you be convicted of possession of methamphetamine when you believed that you possessed ecstasy?
Succinctly, the answer is "I don't know." I need to research this issue. I don't believe that it's settled case law. I feel strongly that a defendant who believed they possessed ecstasy should not be convicted of possession of methamphetamine because the defendant did not knowingly possess methamphetamine -- and nor should they be convicted of possession of ecstasy if they did not, in fact, possess ecstasy.
If the Iowa Supreme Court hasn't already foreclosed the argument, I'd love to brief this issue.
Penalties for Possession of Ecstasy in Iowa
The board of pharmacy recommended to the general assembly -- Iowa's Senators and Representatives -- that ecstasy be listed on Schedule I. Controlled substances are considered "Schedule I" when the lawmakers designate them as substances with a "high potential for abuse" and with "no accepted medical use in treatment."
MDMA is a Schedule I substance under Iowa Code 124.204(4)(z).
- First offense possession of a controlled substance is a serious misdemeanor. It's only a "first offense" if this is your first controlled substance violation. If you've been convicted of possessing other drugs -- even marijuana -- it's no longer your "first offense."
- If convicted, you could face up to one year in jail and a fine of $430 - $2560, plus a 15% surcharge.
- There's a "mandatory minimum" sentence of 48 hours on your first offense possession of a controlled substance conviction. The judge can "suspend" this time if she chooses to.
- Second offense MDMA possession is an aggravated misdemeanor. Conviction results in up to two years in prison and an $855 - $8540 fine.
- Third and subsequent offense ecstasy possession is a Class D felony. Class D felonies result in up to five years in prison, a $1025 - $10,245 fine, loss of voting rights, etc.
Ecstasy Possession Enhancements
Habitual Offender Enhancement for Ecstasy
Iowa Code 902.8 can enhance felony possession charges.
Some people call a habitual offender enhancement the "third strike" rule. Do you already have two or more felony convictions? Convictions from anywhere in the United States count. If so, your next class C felony or class D felony conviction in Iowa makes you a "habitual offender."
Habitual offender convictions prevent you from getting parole for at least three years.
If you had "immediate possession or control of a firearm" while participating in a "possession w/intent" offense, they will sentence you two two times the term you'd otherwise be sentenced to. That time can't be deferred or suspended.
Because possession of ecstasy with intent to deliver is a Class C felony, subject to up to 10 years in prison, getting caught doing that with a gun means you will be sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Iowa Charges Related to Possession of MDMA
The government might charge you with additional drug-adjacent offenses. Your possession lawyer can explain these.
Conspiracy to Possess Ecstasy
If you and one or more other people agree to get drugs -- or even to try to get drugs -- together, you could be charged with "conspiracy" in violation of Iowa Code 706.1. The government has to show that at least one conspirator "committed an overt act" showing that at least one of you planned to actually get the drugs.
Possession of MDMA with Intent to Deliver
When the government proves that someone had ecstasy and planned to deliver it -- either for sale or as a gift -- to someone else, it's a "special" Class C felony (Iowa Code 124.401(1)(c)). Any amount of ecstasy -- even one pill -- is enough to get you up to ten years in prison and a fine of $1000 - $50,000
Defenses to Ecstasy Possession
The government's lawyer has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you're guilty of all statutory elements of possession of a controlled substance (ecstasy).
Some possible possession defenses include:
- Mistaken Identity - If it's reasonable to think that someone else was the person committing the offense, then you shouldn't be held responsible.
- Alibi -Were you somewhere else? If you were testifying in front of Congress at the time of the alleged offense, the jury should hear about your alibi.
- Fourth Amendment Search and Seizure - The Fourth Amendment, with some specific and well-delineated exceptions, guards you from warrantless searches and seizures.