The hallucinogenic drug, PCP, made its entrance into the recreational drug scene decades ago. Upon consumption of this drug, users feel a sensation of being dissociated from their bodies and environment. Some users have reported that it also invokes intense feelings of euphoria. Although PCP hasn't been a widely popular drug in comparison to its street drug counterparts like meth and cocaine, its possession and distribution is still illegal in Pennsylvania. And users who are caught with it are exposed to very serious, life-defining criminal penalties.
PCP Laws in Pennsylvania
In the state of Pennsylvania, it is against the law for an individual to possess, deliver, distribute, sell, cultivate, manufacture, or transport illegal drugs. PCP is categorized as a schedule II substance in the state, which means that users who consume this drug are likely to abuse it, and are likely to develop a severe psychological and physical dependency to the drug. Since PCP is detrimental to users, people caught with very small amounts of this drug will be pinned with criminal charges. The majority of people detained by law enforcement due to PCP are facing charges of simple possession or possession with the intent to distribute.
Simple Possession (less than 2 grams)
In order for a defendant to be convicted on charges of simple possession, it must be proven with coherent evidence that the defendant did, in fact, possess PCP. It is the duty of the court to assess whether an actual possession or constructive possession was established in this case.
Actual possession is established when the drugs were discovered on defendants. When drugs are found in the pocket on the pants of a defendant, for example, it would be considered an actual possession. A constructive possession, on the other hand, is constituted when the drugs are found in a place that a defendant has previously or currently has control of. Drugs found in your car or your home are examples of constructive possession.
State statutes provide that the simple possession of PCP is charged as a misdemeanor offense. But this doesn't mean that the repercussions aren't severe. This offense carries penalties of at least one year in prison and/or the payment of a $5,000 fine for even a first-time offense.
Possession with the intent to distribute (PWID)
A defendant will only be convicted on PWID charges when a prosecutor can provide evidence that he or she had planned to distribute PCP. To determine this whether or not this occurred, courts assess a number of factors. These factors include: the amount of drugs confiscated, the way in which a drug was packaged, the existence of distribution materials (scales, several multiple cell phones etc.)
It's important to note that in these cases, the existence of a transaction is not relevant. As long as there was an attempt by the defendant to transfer the drugs to another individual, this crime is constituted. Also, the broad term “distribute” includes a wide variety of actions. Merely giving some drugs to a friend without charging any amount of money is still considered a criminal act.
PWID is a felony crime. The severity of the penalties imposed will be based on the quantity of the drugs confiscated from a defendant.
- Two to ten grams: Up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
- Ten to 100 grams: Up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Over 100 grams: Five years in prison and a $25,000.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with an offense concerning PCP, or any other illegal drugs, it is crucial you retain an attorney. Skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience representing defendants who have been in your shoes, and he can do the same for you. Contact him today for help.