Possession or sale of phencyclidine – more commonly known as PCP – is a felony in Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada. Although technically classified as a hallucinogen, PCP is structurally similar to the anesthetic ketamine.
Because it is seldom used medically in the United States and has a high potential for addiction, PCP is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. Other common Schedule II substances include cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription opiates such as Oxycontin and Vicodin.
To help you better understand the laws and penalties for PCP possession or sale, our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers discuss the following, below:
- 1. What is PCP?
- 2. PCP Possession – NRS 453.336
- 3. PCP Possession for Sale — NRS 453.337
- 4. PCP Sale, Manufacturing or Gift — NRS 453.321
- 5. PCP Trafficking — NRS 453.3395
PCP (phencyclidine) is a hallucinogen originally developed as an intravenous dissociative anesthetic. In the United States, PCP goes by a number of street names, including Angel Dust, PeaCe Pill, Hog, Lovely, Wack, Ozone, Dust, Embalming Fluid, or Rocket Fuel. When combined with marijuana it is sometimes known as Super Grass or Killer Joints.
Because of serious side effects, however — including hallucinations, delirium, and mania – use of PCP in humans was discontinued in the 1960s. As a result, although it is structurally similar to ketamine, PCP possession and sale are punished more severely than the possession or sale of ketamine in Nevada.
In its pure form, PCP is a white crystalline powder that is bitter tasting and dissolves easily in water or alcohol. Illegal PCP, however, usually contains contaminants that make it darker and give it a powdery or gummy consistency.
Unlawful PCP can be found in the form of tablets, capsules, or colored powders. The most frequent methods of consuming PCP are injection, smoking or snorting. There is also a liquid form of PCP dissolved in ether, which is often sprayed on marijuana or leafy herbs and smoked.
Because of its dangerous effects – which can include paranoia, hostility, hallucinations and psychosis – many experts consider PCP an exceptionally dangerous drug.
Penalties depend on the amount and if the defendant has prior convictions. See our page on drug possession (NRS 453.336) to learn more.
For a first or second offense involving less than 14 grams, it is a category E felony:
The court will grant eligible defendants who plead guilty or no contest a deferral of judgment, which means that the court will dismiss the case if the defendant completes certain court-ordered terms. Otherwise, category E felony convictions carry probation and a suspended sentence, which may include up to one year in jail. (But if the defendant has two or more prior felony convictions, the court may impose one to four years in Nevada State Prison and up to $5,000 in fines.)
3. PCP Possession for Sale – NRS 453.337
Possessing PCP with the intent to sell it is a felony in Nevada. The good news is that intent can be difficult to prove. A skilled Nevada drug lawyer can often negotiate PCP possession for sale charges down to simple possession charges, thus sparing you imprisonment.
Otherwise, if it is your first felony drug offense, conviction on Nevada PCP possession for sale charges can be punished by:
- 1-4 years in prison, and/or
- A fine of not more than $5,000.
Subsequent Nevada felony drug offenses can be penalized more severely. And if you have two or more prior serious drug felony convictions, you must be sentenced to prison. This makes retaining an attorney with experience negotiating Nevada felony drug plea deals and defending drug charges in front of a jury especially important.
For a more complete discussion of Las Vegas drug possession for sale sentencing and defenses, please visit our page on the Nevada crime of possession of narcotics / controlled substances with intent to sell.
NRS 453.321 makes it a felony to sell, manufacture, transport or give away less than 100 grams of PCP in Nevada. (Offenses involving 100 grams or more of PCP are prosecuted as trafficking, discussed below).
A first offense for selling, manufacturing or giving away PCP carries potential penalties of:
- 1-5 years in state prison, and/or
- A fine of up to $10,000.
If you have a prior conviction under this code section or for a serious drug felony under the laws of the United States or any U.S. state or territory, however, the consequences of a PCP violation increase.
At its most serious, a conviction under NRS 453.321 can be punished by:
- Up to 15 years in prison, and
- A fine of up to $20,000 for each offense.
To learn more about Las Vegas PCP sales penalties and defenses, please see our article on the Nevada crime of selling narcotics / controlled substances.
Nevada trafficking laws apply in cases where the PCP (or a substance containing it) weighs 28 grams or more.
Punishment for PCP trafficking depends on the total weight at issue, as shown in the following chart:
|Weight of PCP||Possible sentence & fine|
|≥ 28 grams, but < 200 grams||1-5 years in prison. |
Fine of up to $50,000.
|≥ 200 grams, but < 400 grams||2-10 years in prison. |
Fine of up to $100,000.
|400 grams or more||15 years or life in prison |
(parole possible after 5 years).
Fine of up to $250,000.
To learn more about Las Vegas trafficking laws and ways to defend against them, please see our article on Nevada crime of trafficking narcotics / controlled substances.
Call us for help…
Possessing even a small quantity of PCP can land you in prison and get you branded a felony drug offender. Before facing the loss of your freedom and the serious employment-related consequences of a felony conviction, why not speak to one of our caring Nevada and Las Vegas drug defense lawyers?
We offer free consultations by telephone or in person.
To reach one of our experienced Nevada drug defense lawyers, call us or fill out the form. Together we can figure out the best way to fight to get your Nevada drug charges reduced or dismissed.
Learn more about Nevada drug crimes.
To learn about the California PCP offenses, visit our page on California PCP laws.