Codeine, a narcotic, is used to reduce excitement and irritability. It’s considered medication when a person has a valid prescription for the drug. If the person doesn’t have a valid prescription, it’s considered an illegal substance.

Possession” can be either actual or constructive. Actual possession refers to someone having codeine in their possession. Constructive possession refers to having the codeine in a location that’s in the defendant’s control. 

Why Have I Been Accused of Codeine Possession with My Roommate?

In addition to actual and constructive possession, there is shared possession. This means the defendant and at least one person shared possession of the codeine. So if the controlled substance is found in some place like in a shared home, roommates can be charged with possession.

Is Being Under the Influence of Codeine the Same as Codeine Possession?

In California, being under the influence of codeine is a separate offense. It’s defined as either taking codeine without a valid prescription or using more of the drug than prescribed. In those cases, to possess codeine refers to having a controlled substance. 

What Does a Prosecutor Have to Prove to Convict Me of Codeine Possession?

The prosecutor must prove five things to convict a defendant of codeine possession:

  • The defendant possessed a controlled substance without a prescription
  • The defendant knew of the presence of the controlled substance
  • The defendant knew it was a controlled substance
  • The controlled substance was codeine
  • The codeine was in a usable amount 

What is the Sentence for Codeine Possession? 

A codeine possession conviction carries the punishment of a fine and jail time. It can be probation and up to one year in county jail or 16 months to three years behind bars. 

Should I Contact a Lawyer? 

Yes, contact a criminal lawyer about your codeine possession charge and possible defenses.