What Are the Defenses for Codeine Charges?
Possessing the painkiller codeine without a valid prescription under California law is a crime. This includes personal possession for sale, transporting codeine for sale, being under the influence of codeine without a prescription, or driving under the influence of it.
Depending on the details of your arrest, prosecutors might file additional criminal charges to your original charge of codeine possession.
If convicted of possessing codeine for sale or transporting codeine to sell it, you will likely be charged with a felony crime. Many people who abuse codeine started using it for legitimate medical reasons but became addicted to its pain-killing solid ability.
Some people abuse codeine for pleasure because they like the side effects, such as the feeling of euphoria.
Codeine is a “controlled substance,” a drug regulated by the federal government. Our California criminal defense lawyers will review the laws below.
What Drugs Laws Are Related to Codeine in California?
The following California statutes are related to controlled substances:
- Health and Safety Code 11350 HS prohibits the possession of certain controlled substances without a valid prescription;
- Health and Safety Code 11351 HS prohibits the possession of codeine with the intent to sell it;
- Health and Safety Code 11352 HS makes it a felony to sell or transport a controlled substance, such as codeine.
- Health and Safety Code 11370.1 HS prohibits the possession of a controlled substance while being armed with a firearm.
- Health and Safety Code 11550 HS prohibits someone from being intoxicated by a controlled substance without a prescription;
- Vehicle Code 23152(f) VC makes it a crime to drive intoxicated by controlled substances, like codeine.
Possession of a Controlled Substance – HS 11350
Health and Safety Code 11350(a) HS makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to possess a controlled substance, such as codeine, without a valid prescription.
What is codeine? It's a narcotic drug used to help someone suffering from pain, but a highly addictive opioid.
Codeine is a type of opiate known as a narcotic derived from the opium poppy plant that can dull the senses of pain.
High doses of codeine can result in slurred speech and slow reflexes. It's primarily a pain killer and is highly prescribed by doctors and medical professionals.
The United States Controlled Substances Act regulates the manufacturing and possession of controlled substances.
To be convicted of possessing codeine or another substance illegally, the prosecution has to prove all the elements of the crime, such as the defendant:
- Had possession of a controlled substance;
- Knew the substance qualified as a controlled substance;
- Did not have a valid prescription for it;
- knew of its presence and were aware of the amount.
Perhaps we can use some of the common legal defenses if you were charged with unlawful codeine possession:
- You did not have the drug in your possession;
- You had a valid prescription for the substance;
- You are the victim of an unlawful search and seizure.
Most codeine possession charges are prosecuted as misdemeanors which carry up to one year of county jail time and a fine of up to $1,000.
Intoxicated by a Controlled Substance – HS 11550 HS
If a controlled substance impacts your nervous system, brain function, mental state, or physical abilities, you are deemed “under the influence.”
Perhaps we can use some common defense if you are charged with violating this law, such as:
- The drugs were prescribed and given to you by a licensed medical or health care professional for legitimate reasons;
- You were not intentionally under the influence.
If convicted of violating HS 11550, it's a misdemeanor that carries up to 180 days or one year of county jail time, but you could receive probation instead of jail.
What Are the Defenses for Driving Intoxicated by Drugs?
There would be some legal defenses if you were charged with driving under the influence of drugs, such as:
- No probable cause to stop the driver on a traffic stop;
- You were not under the influence;
- Even though drugs were detected in your blood, they did not impact your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
Most convictions for driving intoxicated by drugs are a misdemeanor that carries up to one year of county jail time. Still, you could be ordered to attend drug counseling and rehabilitation instead of jail time.
Contact Us for Help with Codeine Charges
If you or a family member were charged with any codeine offense, contact us to review legal options. There are some common strategies to challenge the charges:
- You had a valid prescription;
- Lack of knowledge of the presence of the drug;
- Mistaken identity,
- False allegations,
- Illegal search and seizure.
To be convicted, the prosecutor must be able to prove all the elements of the crime beyond any reasonable doubt.
Maybe we can argue that you were not aware of the codeine found in your control, such as in the car. Perhaps you are the victim of police entrapment where they convinced you to commit a crime you would not have otherwise committed.
Maybe we can use an argument for illegal search and seizure conducted by police in violation of search and seizure laws in California.
Perhaps the police searched you without a valid search warrant, or they lacked probable cause, and we can file a motion to suppress evidence. If the motion is granted, the evidence can't be used against you, and the case could be dropped.
Maybe you were improperly accused, wrongfully arrested, or there is not enough evidence to convict you beyond any reasonable doubt.
Maybe we can negotiate with the prosecutor for lesser charges or a dismissal. Perhaps we can persuade the prosecution not to file formal charges in the first place. Eisner Gorin LLP is located in Los Angeles, California, and you can reach us for a case review via phone or the contact form.