Tampering With Consumer Products
Tampering, as a crime, is harshly punished in the American judicial system, capable of standing as a felony on its own. Why a person tampers another’s food, drink, drugs, or similar products is mostly a mystery of the criminal mind, and could be any number of reasons. While some look to cause mild injury or discomfort to spite friends or family members, tampering with consumer products can often lead to more disastrous results, and could potentially result in a jail sentence.
Some pranks are easily construed as tampering. Putting additional ingredients into food, such as laxatives or illegal substances, can be severely punished. Tampering with drinks, including with ingredients like GHB or rohypnol, can be compounded with other charges.
The law only mildly distinguishes between what would be considered a prank and what would be considered a truly harmful act. In the end, the truly important factor in sentencing is not the intent, but the actual results. Injury caused by tampering can upgrade the crime from a felony in the second degree to a felony in the first degree. This means that even a seemingly harmless prank, if gone wrong, can lead to a jail sentence.
Threatening to tamper with someone’s food or drink is also treated as a particularly contemptible crime under the penal code. By issuing a threat to alter a person’s food or drink, a person can be found guilty of a felony in the third degree. Even though this is the lightest of tampering charges, it is still a felony. Those convicted of a felony face heightened sentences, social and professional stigmas, and a loss of the right to vote.