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What is PCP?

PCP is a white crystalline powder that is readily soluble in water or alcohol. It has a distinctive bitter chemical taste. PCP can be mixed easily with dyes and turns up on the illicit drug market in a variety of tablets, capsules, and colored powders. It is normally used in one of three ways: snorted, smoked, or ingested. It is a depressant, and is federally defined as a Schedule II drug. A Schedule II drug has the following characteristics:
  • A high potential for abuse
  • A currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions
  • Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence

What are the Federal Penalties for the Sale and Possession of PCP?

Like with most illicit drugs, PCP use and possession is typically not prosecuted in the federal criminal system. More common prosecutions are for the manufacture and trafficking of the drug. Because PCP is mostly manufactured domestically, there are considerable penalties for the trafficking of PCP. The following are some examples of federal sentencing for PCP:
  • Trafficking 100-999 grams of mixture:
    • First Offense:
      • Not less than five years, and not more than forty years
      • If death or serious injury result, not less than twenty years, no more than life in prison
      • Fine of no more than $2 million
    • Second Offense:
      • Not less than 10 years, not more than life in prison
      • If death or serious injury results, no less than life in prison
      • Fine of no more than $4 million
  • Trafficking of more than 1 kg mixture:
    • First Offense:
      • No less than ten years, no more than life
      • If death or serious injury results, no less than 20 years, and no more than life in prison
      • Fine of no more than $4 million
    • Second Offense:
      • No less than 20 years, no more than life in prison
      • If death or serious injury results, no less than life in prison
      • Fine of no more than $8 million

What Are Typical State Penalties for the Sale or Possession of PCP?

As with other illicit drugs, PCP carries penalties in most states from the minor offense of mere possession, to more major offenses such as distribution. Most states mirror the federal classification of PCP, and have it listed as a Schedule II drug. The following are some common state penalties for PCP offenses (may vary):
  • Possession for Personal Use - 3-5 years in jail and a fine of $1000-$25,000 (some states now have diversionary treatment plans that supplement jail time)
  • Possession With Intent to Sell (typically more than 3 doses) - 3-15 years in jail and a fine of $2000 to $300,000

Should I Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney if I Have Been Arrested or Accused of the Possession or Sale of PCP?

Like more illicit drugs, there are a wide variety of complicated issues associated with the use or sale of PCP. If you have been arrested or accused of a crime involving PCP, the advice of a criminal defense attorney can be very helpful.
Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 04-06-2016 07:47 AM PDT

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