PCP, also known as “Angel Dust,” “Animal Tranq,” and “Magic Dust,” is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by both the U.S. federal government and the State of Florida. As a Schedule II substance, PCP is considered to have “a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.” A conviction for possession of PCP in state or federal court can lead to lengthy incarceration and/or a hefty fine.
If you have been charged with possession of PCP, you need an experienced defense attorney on your side to ensure that you and your rights are protected. At Haas Law, we have the experience in both state and federal court, resources, and skill necessary to protect and defend you throughout the investigation and prosecution of your PCP possession case. Attorney David Haas has years of experience as a prosecutor and understands the ins-and-outs of both the state and federal systems. He will put his experience and knowledge to work defending you against PCP possession charges.
What Is PCP?
Phencyclidine (PCP) was developed in the 1950s as an intravenous anesthetic and was once used as such on humans; however, because of serious neurotoxic side effects, its development for human medical use was discontinued. It is considered a dissociative drug that is known for the ability to create the delusion of supreme strength, euphoria, and enhanced sexual and social abilities. PCP can be snorted or swallowed in pill form, but the most common method of use is smoking, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Penalties for a PCP Possession Conviction in Florida
In the State of Florida, Florida Statute § 893.13 governs the possession of controlled substances. Under that statute, possession of PCP is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine, along with a one-year suspension of your driving privileges. Possession of PCP with the intent to sell is a second-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine and suspension of your driver’s license.
At the federal level, possession of any controlled substance (including heroin) carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a minimum fine of $1,000, or both. Second convictions are punishable by not less than 15 days but not more than two years in prison and a minimum fine of $2,500. Subsequent convictions are punishable by not less than 90 days but not more than three years in prison and a minimum fine of $5,000. Possession of 100 to 999 grams of PCP is punishable by five to 40 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2 million.
Defending Against Allegations of PCP Possession
If you have been charged with PCP possession at the state or federal level, retaining an experienced PCP possession defense attorney as soon as possible is the only way to ensure that your rights and your future are protected. The defense strategy utilized for your case will be based on the unique facts and circumstances of the underlying investigation and subsequent prosecution; however, there are some frequently used defense strategies in PCP possession cases, such as:
- Challenging the prosecution’s constructive possession argument. If you were not found to be in “actual” possession of the PCP, the prosecution must rely on a “constructive possession” argument. That is, the prosecution claims you knew where the PCP was and had the ability to access it. Constructive possession arguments are often used in cases when, for example, drugs are found on a passenger in your vehicle, drugs are found on your partner in your house, drugs are found under a chair you are sitting on, or drugs are found in your vehicle. After examining specifics of your case, your defense attorney may be able to successfully challenge the constructive possession argument, thereby making it impossible for the prosecution to prove all elements necessary for a conviction.
- Challenging an illegal search and seizure. If law enforcement officers failed to obtain a valid warrant and cannot make a successful argument for an exception to the warrant requirement, any evidence obtained as part of a search and seizure may be inadmissible at trial.
- Challenging the procedures used to gather and process evidence. Law enforcement officers must handle evidence with care and use proper “chain of custody” procedures when processing and testing evidence. Your attorney may be able to challenge the chain of custody and/or the test results as part of your defense.
- Challenging the reliability and/or credibility of an informant. Drug investigations frequently make use of a Confidential Informant (CI). If the prosecution is relying on the testimony of a CI or evidence obtained by a CI in the prosecution of a case, they must prove that the CI was reliable and credible. Your attorney may be able to challenge the reliability and/or credibility of a CI, if one was involved in your arrest.
Get Help from an Experienced Florida PCP Possession Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with PCP possession in state or federal court, it is crucial for you to consult with an experienced PCP possession defense attorney immediately to make sure your legal rights are protected and to get started building a strong defense.
Attorney David Haas has the experience, skill and commitment necessary to mount a strong defense against PCP possession charges in either state or federal court. At Haas Law, we are dedicated to aggressively defending you, your rights, and your future.
Call us at 407-755-7675, chat with us online, or submit our online form today. We understand that time is of the essence when law enforcement authorities are investigating you or you have been arrested, so we answer calls 24 hours a day and urge you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to discuss your case.