New York Penal Law § 145.40: Tampering with a Consumer Product in the Second Degree

Nowadays many consumer products have specially designed caps and seals to prevent tampering. Consumers are warned that if a seal is broken or if the product packaging appears as if it has been tampered with, then they should not buy that particular product. While a well-known product tampering case from the early 1980s involved an over-the-counter medication, other products have been tampered with over the years including food products and beauty products. For the past several decades there have been both state and federal laws specifically criminalizing tampering with a consumer product. Under New York Penal Law § 145.40, you would have committed the crime of tampering with a consumer product in the second degree if:

  1. You alter, adulterate or otherwise contaminate a consumer product,
  2. You had the intent to injure another person or instill fear that injury might occur, and
  3. You had not right to do so.
Example

Harry worked at a fast food restaurant. He did not really like the job, and hated the restaurant's owner. However, Harry could not find another job. One day Harry decided to get revenge on his boss for being so mean to him. He decided to place a little bit of rat poison in a couple of salads and then serve them to customers. He did not want to kill anyone, he just wanted a few people to get sick so that the health department would fine or shut down the restaurant. Harry could be prosecuted for tampering with a consumer product in the second degree, as he tampered with a consumer product with the intent of causing physical injury.

Related Offenses
  1. Tampering with a consumer product in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 145.45
  2. Criminal tampering in the third degree: New York Penal Law § 145.14
  3. Criminal tampering in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 145.15
  4. Criminal tampering in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 140.20
Defenses

In order for you to be convicted of tampering with a consumer product in the second degree, the prosecutor must show that you tampered with a product with the intent physically injure someone. If you can show that you never expected anyone to consume or use the product, then you may have a valid defense to the charge.

Sentence

Tampering with a consumer product in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. The consequence of a conviction is that the judge may order that you be sent to jail for up to a year. However, there is also the possibility that the judge will not sentence you to jail, but will instead sentence you to a 3 year probation term. You may also be required to pay a fine.

New York Penal Law § 145.40: Tampering with a Consumer Product in the Second Degree

A person is guilty of tampering with a consumer product in the second degree when, having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he has such right, and with intent to cause physical injury to another or with intent to instill in another a fear that he will cause such physical injury, he alters, adulterates or otherwise contaminates a consumer product.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

While tampering with a consumer product in the second degree is a misdemeanor and not a felony, you should take the charge seriously. If you are convicted you could end up in jail for up to a year. In addition, you may be required to pay fines. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with criminal mischief as well as other felonies and misdemeanors such as grand larceny, burglary, and assault. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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