DMT Appears On Port St. Lucie Streets
A new substance — dimethyltryptamine — is making the rounds in the shadowy world of drug trafficking. Its appearance raises two interesting questions which are common in many drug cases.
DMT, which has been used for centuries in religious ceremonies, is basically a mild form of LSD. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, “The intense effects and short duration of action are attractive to individuals who want the psychedelic experience but do not choose to experience the mind-altering perceptions over an extended period of time as occurs with other hallucinogens.” Martin County Sheriff’s deputies made one of the first DMT seizures in the area in 2012.
More recently, authorities arrested two individuals for dimethyltryptamine possession after a raid on a Southeast Proctor Lane residence.
Is It Illegal?
There are several different variations of dimethyltryptamine. Some of them include 5-MeO-DMT (5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) and 5-Me-DMT (5-Methyl-N,N-dimethyltryptamine). Depending on the exact composition, DMT could be a Schedule I drug under Florida and federal law, or it could be something else.
The punishment ranges are different for Schedule I drugs than they are for other substances. Furthermore, as far as the law is concerned, 5-MeO-DMT (5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) and 5-Me-DMT (5-Methyl-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) are as different as salt and pepper. This issue could also result in a variance, an idea that’s explained below.
Synthetic marijuana is quite popular in some circles. Scientists invent different strains faster than criminal laws can be updated. So, in many situations, the substance was not technically illegal to possess at the time of arrest. That kind of technicality is all a criminal defense attorney needs to secure a positive result. That could be a not-guilty verdict at trial or an extremely favorable plea bargain.
Finally, sometimes there are issues with substance tests. Officers almost always “field test” substances. Generally, these tests are completely unscientific. Sometimes, they may not be much more than a visual inspection. At any rate, most Port St. Lucie field officers are not chemists so they are not really qualified to give their opinions in this area.
So, the “field test” may not be sufficient. If there was no scientific test, or if an independent test yields different results, the prosecutor’s case could be hopelessly crippled.
What Amount Can the State Prove?
Many drug dealers use other substances to “cut” illegal substances. Usually, the statute contains a catch all phrase like “an ounce of whatever, including any adulterants or dilutants.” But such phrases are not always present.
This same issue comes up very frequently in marijuana arrests. Most Florida law enforcement agencies presume that each joint is a certain number of ounces. But the actual amount varies wildly. Moreover, if someone lights the joint, part of the marijuana is actually marijuana residue. Finally, some people combine marijuana with another substance, like tobacco.
The result is often a variance between the proof and the pleading. For example, prosecutors might charge a defendant with felony possession of marijuana (20 grams to 25 pounds) but they can only prove that the defendant had 19.5 grams.
Sometimes, Port St. Lucie judges allow trial amendments in these cases. But other times, judges force prosecutors to go back to the beginning and start with new documents. That latter instance gives defense lawyers a significant advantage.
Count on Experienced Lawyers
Drug cases involve complicated legal and factual issues. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We have offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, and Port St. Lucie.