Phencyclidine, also known as PCP, Angel Dust, Tic Tac, or Crystal, is a Schedule II drug [under Florida Statute § 893.03] that causes amnesia, numbness, hallucinations, and sight distortions. Because of PCP’s high potential for abuse, Florida law enforcement officers and judges are striking down hard on users. Florida PCP penalties are strict and include fines and jail time if you are caught making, using, selling, or possessing PCP.
For defense help in St. Petersburg, call the defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel today: 727-828-3900.
Penalties for Possession of PCP
Under Florida Statute § 893.13, possession of PCP is a third-degree felony. Possession of PCP is punishable by up to:
- 5 years in prison
- 5 years of probation
- A $5,000 fine
- 1-year driver’s license suspension
Penalties for Selling or Distributing PCP
Under Florida Statute 893.13(1)(a)(1), it is a second-degree felony to sell, manufacture, or deliver PCP. Selling or distributing PCP is punishable by up to:
- 15 years in prison
- 15 years of probation
- A fine of $10,000
- 1-year driver’s license suspension
These penalties may be higher based on certain circumstance. For example, if you were caught manufacturing PCP in an environment where a child under the age of 16 was present, you will face first-degree felony, which includes a minimum prison term of five years [Florida Statute 893.13 (g)(1)].
In some cases, officers may charge you with possession with intent to sell even if you only intend to use it yourself.
Penalties for Trafficking PCP
Under Florida Statute 893.135(1)(d)(1), if you are caught selling, purchasing, manufacturing, or knowingly possessing 28 grams or more of PCP, you will be charged with the offense of “trafficking in phencyclidine.”
This is a first-degree felony; the penalties for this offense depend on the amount of PCP or substance containing PCP that officers catch you with:
- 28 – less than 200 grams: mandatory minimum three years in prison and $50,000 fine
- 200 – less than 400 grams: mandatory minimum seven years in prison and $100,000 fine
- 400 grams or more: mandatory minimum 15 years in prison and $250,000 fine
- 800 grams or more: If you bring 800 grams or more into the state and know that there is a chance that this amount will lead to someone’s death, you face capital felony charges.
You can face other, harsher penalties depending on where you sell and to whom you sell.
Note: Officers judge how much PCP you have based on weight. This means that you could be charged with trafficking even if the amount of pure PCP you have on your person is less than 28 grams.
Defenses to PCP Charges
In addition to the basic pretrial and trial defenses for criminal cases in general, there are several defenses to PCP crimes we may use depending on your case. These include:
4th Amendment Violations: The United States Constitution provides certain rights to all citizens, regardless of state laws. The Fourth Amendment protects against unlawful searches and seizures.
Essentially, police officers cannot use undue force or coercion during an arrest. Additionally, without your consent, officers need to have probable cause to search you in the first place.
If an officer violated these rules during a search, we may use this defense to argue that the state cannot use evidence collected during the illegal search and seizure. Without evidence, the court may have no choice but to throw your case out.
Constructive Possession: To convict you based on constructive possession, the state must be able to prove that you knew of the drugs in your possession and that you had control over them. If we can prove you were not aware of the drugs (e.g., your friend left them in your car), we can defend against the state’s constructive possession argument.
If you were truly unaware the drugs were on you and you had no control over them, then you are not guilty of the crime of possession. This defense is difficult to argue because you generally need proof that another person placed the drugs on you. Most of the time, this type of evidence is difficult to obtain.
Personal Use: If the state charges with you selling PCP, but we can prove it was for personal use, it may reduce the charges from a second- to a third-degree felony. We may use this as a negotiating tool later when talking to the state attorney about your case.
Providing Substantial Assistance: If you provide the state with information about accomplices or others involved in trafficking of controlled substances, we may try to convince the state to ask the court to suspend or reduce your sentence. (Florida Statutes 893.135(4))
Entrapment: Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, we may argue that law enforcement tricked or coerced you to buy, sell, or otherwise possess PCP.
Credibility of Informant: If another party provides substantial assistance to law enforcement regarding your involvement in an alleged crime, we will investigate and may question that party’s credibility.
Overdose Defense: Florida has a law in place that prevents criminal convictions for people who visit the hospital or another medical site after a drug overdose.
In short, if a person overdoses on PCP, s/he can go to the hospital without fear that the doctors or nurses will turn him/her over to police officers. If the police officer who arrested you only knew about your drug use because you needed medical assistance, you can argue Florida’s overdose defense.
Goldman Wetzel Drug Defense Attorneys in St. Petersburg
If you have been charged with a PCP offense in St. Petersburg, contact the drug charge defense lawyers at Goldman Wetzel for help. We have experience defending Floridians accused of drug crimes; we know the best strategies and arguments to make on your behalf.
Contact us today at 727-828-3900 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.