Laws are in place to protect every person in this nation from being harmed.
Although you might think that applies mainly to physical offenses that
occur between two people, such as
assault and battery or
murder, statutes are also written to prevent others from carrying out actions
that could indirectly cause injury to others. Such as with the federal
law that prohibits tampering with consumer products, such as food, cosmetics,
drugs, or devices.
Tampering with a Consumer Product to Cause Injury
Various subsections of the federal tampering with consumer products law
exist. The first one concerns engaging in this action and knowing that
it could cause injury or death to someone else, but doing it regardless.
This is what's known as acting recklessly.
A person violates 18 U.S. Code § 1365 if they tamper with:
- A consumer product,
- The label of a product, or
- The container of the product
What this law means is that if you go into a grocery store, pick up a bottle
of bleach, and pour it over food items, you're committing a
federal crime. This is true even if you didn't actually complete the offense, meaning
you picked up the bottle of bleach with the intent to empty it on a product
but were stopped before you were able to do so.
The punishments for this offense are harsh, and if you're convicted,
you could be looking at spending years in federal prison.
The incarceration sentences for tampering with consumer products include:
- Up to 10 years for attempting the offense
- Up to life for causing the death of another
- Up to 20 years for causing serious bodily injury
- Up to 10 years for any case other than those mentioned above
Causing Harm to a Business
Let's say that your intent when tampering with a consumer product wasn't
to injure or kill another person; you only meant to hurt the business
owned by a specific individual. Your actions are still prohibited under
the law. If you are convicted of this offense, you could be imprisoned
for up to 3 years.
Providing False Information About Tampering with a Consumer Product
Take another scenario where you weren't the one who messed with the
grocery store food – your friend did it. However, when questioned
about the offense, you knowingly gave law enforcement officials incorrect
information. Doing such is also a federal crime, and it could land you
in federal prison for up to 5 years.
Federal crimes are serious matters with severe consequences. If you've
been charged in Santa Barbara, get effective legal counsel from our skilled
lawyers at Appel & Morse by calling us at (805) 467-6060 or
contacting us online.