People who experience severe pain are often prescribed a drug called hydrocodone, also known as Vicodin. But, like most drugs, Vicodin can be obtained and used outside of medical dictation. In California, someone can face criminal charges for possessing or using Vicodin in this way; this is especially true for those who have the intention to distribute Vicodin or sell it on the black market.
Some California laws that illustrate charges that revolve around Vicodin include:
Health and Safety Code 11350 HS (possession of Vicodin)
Health and Safety Code 11351 HS (intention to sell Vicodin)
Health and Safety Code 11352 HS (sale/transportation of Vicodin)
Health and Safety Code 11550 HS (under the influence of Vicodin Vehicle Code 23152(f) VC (driving under the influence of Vicodin)
The description and penalties that can result from Health and Safety Code 11350 for the illegal possession of Vicodin are as follows:
Even an exaggerated use of Vicodin outside of a person’s prescription can lead to this charge. This includes having more than the prescription dictates, having more than one prescription, or even possessing someone else’s prescription. Possession of Vicodin counts as a misdemeanor in California. The penalty for this charge includes up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $20,000.If a person has been previously convicted of this charge and is charged again, then they will face felony charges that carry a penalty of up to four years in jail. This type of conviction can also happen if you have a number of other previous felonies, including sexually violent offenses, murder, manslaughter, etc.
Drug diversion can be available for this type of charge, and eligible defendants in California can serve time in drug rehabilitation.
When you possess or purchase Vicodin with an intention to sell, then you have violated this law. This charge has a more severe punishment because it involves an intention to sell Vicodin rather than simply possessing it for personal use. This charge can be punishable by up to four years in jail and a fine of up to $20,000.This charge does not allow leeway for participation in a drug diversion program.
This is the more serious of these three related offenses. A conviction of either selling or transporting to sell Vicodin is met with penalties of up to five years of jail time and a fine of up to $20,000. If found to be transporting Vicodin across country lines with an intent to sell, someone can face up to nine years in jail with a fine of up to $20,000.This charge also does not leave room for participation in a drug diversion program. The description and penalties that can result from Health and Safety Code 11550 for being under the influence of Vicodin are as follows:
As stated above, Vicodin contains hydrocodone. If someone is found to be under the influence of hydrocodone, pure or otherwise (including Vicodin), and this does not comply with the parameters of a prescription, then they violate this law. A person is considered “under the influence” if the amount of the aforementioned substance in their system has impaired their physical or mental abilities in a “detectable manner.”
If someone is charged with this crime, they may be eligible for drug diversion.
A person violates this code if they are “driving under the influence” of Vicodin, including “driving under the influence” of prescription Vicodin. A conviction of this nature is usually a misdemeanor in California. A person convicted of this type of DUI for the first time will likely not see jail time but can be subject to other penalties that include driver license suspension, up to $390 in fines, DUI school, or up to five years of DUI probation. Someone charged with this type of DUI is not eligible for a drug diversion program.
There are a variety of defenses against charges revolving around Vicodin that a defense attorney can present on someone’s behalf; they’re described in the following:
Their use or possession of Vicodin was actually consistent with valid prescription instruction. Instead of “driving under the influence” of Vicodin, you were impaired by something else like fatigue, anxiety, illness, etc., at the time of your arrest. Your arresting officer(s) violated California’s search and seizure laws.
Hydrocodone is a commonly used medicine for pain relief (and also a cough suppressant). Because of its strength to treat pain, it’s also abused commonly outside of what a valid prescription would dictate. It’s typically available in the form of tablets, capsules, and syrup. Hydrocodone is often mixed with other drugs such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. It’s often referred to as Vicodin (a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen).
Hydrocodone, when taken on its own, is listed under the United States Controlled Substances Act as a “Schedule II” drug. These drugs are defined by:
Despite common belief, people die more often from abuse of legal drugs than illegal drugs.
If you find yourself, or a loved one facing charges related to Hydrocodone do not hesitate to reach out to us at the H Law Group. We are a team of experienced former prosecutors ready to take your case. Call for a free consultation.