Consumer Product Tampering - Florida Statute 500.001

consumer product tampering

Florida Statute 501.001 deals with issues surrounding the tampering of consumer products (such as food, drinks, pharmaceutical drugs, pet foods, etc) that can harm individuals or businesses. The statute lists four different crimes related to consumer product tampering. These four crimes are not that common. The defenses that a lawyer can use with these types of crimes are specific to the surrounding facts of the case.

1. Reckless Tampering

The statute prohibits anyone from tampering, attempting to tamper, and conspiring with another person to tamper with a consumer product with reckless disregard for other people’s safety. This crime is a first-degree felony and a person convicted of a first-degree felony could face up to 30 years in prison with the possibility of have a $10,000 fine on top of that prison sentence. See Florida Statute 501.001(2)(a).

To be convicted of this crime, the prosecuting attorney has to prove that:

(1) You recklessly disregarded the risks of other individuals dying or having their bodies injured by your product/ label/ container tampering; and

(2) You tampered, attempted to tamper, or conspired with another person to tamper with the product/ label/ container.

2. Tampering Which Causes Serious Business Injury

The statute prohibits anyone from intentionally causing serious injury to a person’s business by tampering with products or making the labels or containers of the products false or misleading. This crime is punishable as a second-degree felony and a person could face up to 15 years in prison with the possibility of have a $10,000 fine on top of that prison sentence. See Florida Statute 501.001(2)(b).

For you to be convicted of this crime, the prosecuting attorney has to prove that:

(1) You intentionally wanted to cause serious injury to the person’s business; and

(2) You tampered with the product or made the labels /containers of the products false/misleading.

3. Reporting False Information of Tampering

The statute prohibits anyone from knowingly communicating false information that a consumer product has been tampered with in such a way that there is a risk of death or body injury when they knows or reasonably believes the information to be false. This crime is punishable as a second-degree felony and a person could face up to 15 years in prison with the possibility of have a $10,000 fine on top of that prison sentence. See Florida Statute 501.001(2)(c).

For you to be convicted, the prosecuting attorney has to prove that:

(1) The information was false;

(2) You knew or reasonably expected or believed the information to be false; and

(3) If that product tampering was true, would result in death or bodily injury.

4. Threatening to Tamper Which Will Cause Injury or Death

The statute prohibits anyone from threatening to recklessly disregard other people’s safety and commit, cause, attempt, or conspiring with another person to tamper with a consumer product that could result in a person’s injury or death. A mere threat is not enough. The facts surrounding the threat must lead a reasonably person to believe that the person making the threat is serious. This is a third-degree felony and a person could face up to 5 years in prison with the possibility of have a $5,000 fine on top of that prison sentence. See Florida Statute 501.001(2)(d).

One possible defense to this charge is that the person was only joking and that the facts would not lead a normal reasonable person to believe that tampering was going to be committed. This type of defense would be extremely fact specific because voice tone, body posture, and the context of the conversation would all matter.

Contact The Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.

If you are facing any of these charges, contact a West Palm Beach Consumer Product Tampering Lawyer at The Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A. to determine what your options are.

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