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NY Penal Law § 145.45: Tampering with a Consumer Product in the First Degree

Since the early 1980s consumer products have specially designed caps and seals to prevent tampering. However, not all products can be made tamper-proof, and not all consumers are able to recognize when a product has been tampered with. As a result of product tampering, people can be serious injured or even killed. Under both federal and state law it is illegal to tamper with consumer products. "Consumer products" include any drug, food, beverage, or other product that is made to be ingested by people or to be applied to the external surface of a person. Under New York Penal Law § 145.45, you would have committed the crime of tampering with a consumer product in the first 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,
  3. You had no right to do so, and
  4. You create a substantial risk that someone will be seriously injured.

Susan worked for a local fast food restaurant. She did not really like her job and despised her manager. One day her manager berated Susan and embarrassed her in front of her much younger co-workers. Susan decided to get revenge on the manager and the restaurant. She sprayed 3 hamburgers with a commercial grade cleaning solution. She then wrapped them up and gave them to a takeout customer. Later 3 people became extremely ill after eating the burgers. Susan could be prosecuted for tampering with a consumer product in the first degree. Not only did she tamper with a consumer product, she did so with in such a way that she put consumers at risk of serious physical injury.

Related Offenses
  1. Tampering with a consumer product in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 145.40
  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 § 145.20

In order to convict you of tampering with a consumer product in the first degree the prosecutor must prove that what you did presented a substantial risk of serious physical injury. If, for example, what you did could only possibly cause consumers to suffer a mild stomach ache, or a temporary rash, then the prosecutor will have a hard time convincing a court that you are guilty of the charge.


Tampering with a consumer product in the first degree is a class E felony. The possible consequence of a conviction is that the judge may order that you be sent to prison for up to four years. However, it is also possible that the judge will not sentence you to prison, but will instead sentence you to a 5 year probation term.

New York Penal Law § 145.45: Tampering with a Consumer Product in the First Degree

A person is guilty of tampering with a consumer product in the first 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 and thereby creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to one or more persons.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are convicted of tampering with a consumer product in the first degree, you could end up in prison. However, just because you were charged with this crime does not mean that you will be convicted. There may be defenses that may result in the charges against you being dropped or reduced. 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 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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