HS 11350, 11351, 11352, 11550, VC 23152 - California Codeine Charges

Criminal Defense Picture

HS 11350, 11351, 11352, 11550, VC 23152 - California Codeine Charges

1. What are the Penalties for Violating California Codeine Laws?


Here is a list of the most received charges in California for codeine crimes.  Any of the following convictions may lead to being deported or removed from the country, regardless whether you immigrated legally or illegally.

 1.1. Penalties for HS 11350 personal possession of codeine?

California’s law on possession of a controlled substance (Health and Safety Code 11350 HS) states that it is prohibited to be in possession of codeine (as well as drugs such as heroin and cocaine) without a legal prescription. This law focuses only on possession for personal use.

Punishment for being convicted of violating this law is up to one year in jail and/or a fine of as much as $20,000 dollars.

Additional felony penalties of two to four years in jail will be given if you have been convicted of sex crimes that fits California’s sex offender registration requirement or if you have committed a felony such as murder, rape, sex crimes against a minor under fourteen, or gross vehicular manslaughter committed while intoxicated.

Some defendants of codeine crimes will be eligible for drug diversion programs in California, which will allow the defendant’s drug charges to be dropped if treatment is completed. Drug diversion programs include:

  • Proposition 36
  • Penal Code 1000 PC
  • California drug courts


 1.2. What are the penalties for HS 11351 possession for sale of codeine?

Under California’s law against possession/purchase of a controlled substance for sale (Health and Safety code 11351 HS), it is a crime to possess and/or purchase codeine to resell. 

Punishment for conviction of violating this law is two to four years in jail and/or a maximum fine of $20,000.

No option for a drug diversion program will be offered for committing this violation.

John Murray, a San Bernardino Codeine Attorney states,  “If your California drug crimes defense lawyer can convince the prosecutor or judge or jury that you only possessed codeine for your personal use–and that you had no intention of reselling it–your HS 11351 charge could be reduced to an 11350 charge for personal possession. This means much lighter penalties and, possibly, the chance to participate in a drug diversion program like Prop 36 or PC 1000 instead of going to jail.”

 1.3. What are the penalties for HS 11352 sale / transportation of codeine?

Violation of California’s law against the transportation and/or sale of a controlled substance (Health and Safety Code 11352) has the most severe penalties with three to five years in jail and a fine of as much as $20,000. However, if you are convicted of transporting codeine across more than two country lines to sell, you may receive as much as nine years in jail.

It should be noted as well that conviction of violating Health and Safety Code 11352 will not make you eligible for a drug diversion program.

 1.4. What are the penalties for HS 11550 under the influence of codeine?

Under California’s law against being under the influence of a controlled substance, it is illegal to be under the influence of codeine without a legal prescription or to be under the influence of codeine against the strict rules of the prescription.

To be convicted of this crime, you must have used an amount of codeine that can be detected. It does not matter if the codeine is straight or mixed with other ingredients that make cough syrup, Tylenol, etc.

This crime is considered a misdemeanor with the potential option for participation in a drug diversion program.

 1.5. What are the penalties for VC 23152(f) driving under the influence of codeine?

California’s law against driving under the influence of substances (Vehicle Code 23152(f) VC) prohibits being under the influence of codeine while driving.

Regardless of whether you are in possession of codeine legally or illegally, you can be charged with a DUI.

To be convicted of a codeine DUI, you must have taken enough to have impaired your ability to drive the way a sober, responsible driver would.

If you are prescribed codeine, it is your responsibility as a driver to learn how the drug affects you personally before you drive under the use of codeine.

For the first offense of driving under the influence of codeine, you will be charged with one or more of the following:

  • Suspension of your driver’s license
  • A base fine of up to $390
  • Requirement of taking a DUI course
  • 3-5 years of DUI probation.

No drug diversion will be offered for this misdemeanor.

2. What Legal Defenses Can I Use to Fight California Codeine Charges?

You may be defended against charges of California codeine crimes in any of the following ways:

  • The codeine found was not in your possession but belonged to someone else (mistaken identity)
  • The codeine was obtained in an illegal search and seizure by the police
  • The police committed an illegal act whilst discovering or seizing the codeine from your possession (police misconduct)
  • The codeine in your possession was legally obtained through a valid prescription and was used in accordance with the rules of the prescription

Note that in order to defend that you used codeine legally, the following criteria must be met.

  1. The codeine was in fact prescribed to you and not somebody else.
  2. You were not in possession of more codeine than you were prescribed.
  3. You did not commit and act of fraud where the codeine was obtained through multiple doctors without their knowledge of the other doctors.

3. What is the Difference between Legal and Illegal Use of Codeine in California?

Though codeine is commonly used as a legal painkiller, it is also a controlled substance that is often illegally obtained and abused. 

Unfortunately, as a result of codeine being used so much for legal medical purposes, many people become addicted to the sedative for a couple of reasons. Either they wish to continue experiencing the euphoria that the drug gives them, or they begin to use more of the drug than was originally prescribed to them due to the effectiveness wearing off.

Regardless of the reason one becomes addicted to codeine, it is a dangerous addiction that many people fall victim to and therefore is deserving of compassion.