For the health and safety of all citizens, Texas prohibits tampering with any consumer product which could result in serious bodily injury. Consumer products are defined as any product offered for sale to the public, or offered for the consumption of the public. This includes food, drugs, and any other product. Tampering with a consumer product can be accomplished by either adding a foreign substance to the product or altering the product in some way that makes it probable that someone will sustain a serious bodily injury.

In assessing whether an injury is “serious,” the statutes provide guidance. “Serious bodily injury” is an injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes death. It also includes serious permanent disfigurement, protracted loss of function, or impairment of any body function or organ.

When someone intentionally or knowingly tampers with a product, and they know the product is going to be either offered for sale or given to another for use or consumption, they have committed product tampering. Additionally, when a person either intentionally or knowingly threatens to tamper with a consumer product, this may also be product tampering. Under these circumstances, the person must intend to cause fear, effect the sales of the product in question, or intend to cause bodily injury to another person.

When serious bodily injury is sustained, this offense is a felony in the first degree, which can be punished by life in prison or 99 years. The minimum prison sentence for a first-degree felony is five years. Where no serious bodily injury is sustained, the offense is a felony in the second degree, which has a two-year prison minimum, with a maximum sentence of up to 20 years.

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Penal Code Section 22.09

TAMPERING WITH CONSUMER PRODUCT

(a)  In this section:

(1)  “Consumer Product” means any product offered for sale to or for consumption by the public and includes “food” and “drugs” as those terms are defined in Section 431.002, Health and Safety Code.

(2)  “Tamper” means to alter or add a foreign substance to a consumer product to make it probable that the consumer product will cause serious bodily injury.

(b)  A person commits an offense if he knowingly or intentionally tampers with a consumer product knowing that the consumer product will be offered for sale to the public or as a gift to another.

(c)  A person commits an offense if he knowingly or intentionally threatens to tamper with a consumer product with the intent to cause fear, to affect the sale of the consumer product, or to cause bodily injury to any person.

(d)  An offense under Subsection (b) is a felony of the second degree unless a person suffers serious bodily injury, in which event it is a felony of the first degree.  An offense under Subsection (c) is a felony of the third degree.

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