Who would think that pizza dough could lead to federal charges?
Well, as it turns out, when you tamper with consumer products, the federal government takes it very seriously.
Last year, a man pled guilty to tampering with a consumer product. He admitted to placing pieces of metal and razor blades in pizza dough found in supermarkets in New Hampshire and Maine. He will spend nearly five years in federal prison as a result.
Of course, it’s not simply federal law you have to worry about in these cases. State law has its prohibitions as well.
For example, Texas has its own laws regarding tampering with a consumer product, and the consequences of being found guilty of this crime can be quite severe. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Tampering with a Consumer Product?
Tampering with a consumer product is defined under Texas law as “actions taken by a person that add foreign substances to or alter a consumer product in order to increase the probability that the product will cause serious bodily injury”.
If you intentionally do this with the knowledge that the product will be offered for sale or as a gift to the public, it can be prosecuted as a first- or second-degree felony.
If it occurs and no harm is done, it’s usually a second-degree charge. Bodily injury, however, will almost a;ways result in a first-degree charge.
It is also illegal to threaten to tamper with a consumer product in a way that will cause fear to the public or impact the sale of the product. Doing so can cause you to be charged with a third-degree felony.
Penalties for Tampering with a Consumer Product in Texas
In the state of Texas, being found guilty of tampering with a consumer product can lead to prison time and fines.
Third Degree Felony
If convicted of third-degree tampering with a consumer product, you can face up to 10 years in prison and be fined as much as $10,000.
Second Degree Felony
Being found guilty of second-degree tampering with a consumer product can result in a 20 year prison sentence and/or a fine up to $10,000.
First Degree Felony
The most serious level is first-degree tampering with a consumer product that can result in a sentence up to life imprisonment. If the victim is under the age of six or younger than 14 years, and the offense caused serious bodily injury or death, there is a 25-year minimum sentence. Fines of as much as $10,000 can also be assessed.
Federal Tampering with Consumer Products Laws
While each state has its own laws governing tampering with a consumer product, the federal government has standards as well. According to the U.S. code, tampering or attempting to tamper with a consumer product that impacts foreign commerce or interstate exchange, done with the reckless disregard for the risk of danger or bodily injury, is a serious offense.
There are some people that think tampering with a consumer product is funny. You may have seen videos of kids online licking ice cream and then placing it back on the shelves, for example.
But what most don’t realize is how seriously both the state of Texas and the federal government take these crimes
Remember the serious consequences that can be handed down as a result of being found guilty. That’s why it’s always important to understand the nature of charges against you and your rights in the process.