Rockland County Hazing Lawyer
Being charged with hazing can be both emotionally and mentally stressful. Although hazing charges are traditionally brought against students in colleges or universities, state laws can apply to adults as well. As a result, any individual accused of hazing needs a competent lawyer to help them defend their rights.
If you need legal assistance with these charges, a Rockland County hazing lawyer is available to assist. A seasoned student defense attorney is familiar with different kinds of hazing cases and could research your case to determine the best legal approach. They know how to represent your interests, both in court and out of court.
What Acts Could Constitute Hazing?
Hazing generally occurs in situations where a person joins or is inducted into, an organization, such as a fraternity, sorority, social club, or other organization. Often this is at college campuses such as St. Thomas Aquinas College, Pace University, SUNY Purchase, and Iona College. In many cases, hazing consists of encouraging that person to engage in a variety of potentially embarrassing or unusual activities as a means to demonstrate their commitment to the organization. These activities can range from harmless pranks to possibly life-threatening stunts.
Some acts of hazing can involve serious physical violence including striking or punching another student. Other alleged acts of hazing might involve behavior such as forcing another student to remain standing while restraining them.
Hazing does not always involve physical acts. Other examples could include forcing another student to remain silent or otherwise isolate them. Verbal abuse is also common. An attorney in Rockland County could review hazing charges and determine if the defendant’s actions constitute criminal charges.
Levels of Hazing Charges
There are two degrees of hazing charges in New York. Both require conduct in the course of an individual’s initiation or affiliation with an organization. Second-degree hazing is the least serious and occurs, according to New York Penal Law §120.17, when a person intentionally or recklessly creates a “substantial risk of physical injury” to another person. Second-degree hazing is a violation, which triggers a potential fine of up to $250, according to New York Penal Law §80.05. However, violations may also result in a short jail sentence. Under New York Penal Law §70.15, courts may impose a sentence of up to 15 days in jail for a violation.
First-degree hazing is more serious and is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, according to New York Penal Law §120.16. Under that statute, first-degree hazing occurs when a person creates a substantial risk of physical injury to another and actually causes such an injury.
For example, first-degree hazing may occur if a person physically hits or strikes another individual during an initiation. Under New York Penal Law §70.15, an individual convicted of first-degree hazing could spend up to a year in jail. As a result, anyone facing hazing allegations should contact a Rockland County lawyer for an immediate consultation.
Could a Hazing Charge Impact College or Graduate School Admissions?
The criminal consequences of a hazing conviction are not the only way these allegations could negatively impact a student’s life. A student convicted of hazing could also face serious consequences in their academic life.
For a high school student, a conviction for hazing could harm their chances of admission at their chosen college. For college students, the same could be true for any graduate degree they might pursue. What is more, an allegation alone could have an impact on the admissions process. This is why the assistance of a Rockland County attorney could be invaluable in resolving hazing allegations before criminal charges are ever filed.
How Could an Attorney Help with a Hazing Charge?
It is never a good idea to take on a criminal charge of hazing alone. In fact, it could be in the best interest of a person facing hazing allegations to speak with a Rockland County lawyer before charges are ever filed. This is because an attorney might be able to address an allegation of hazing before an arrest is ever made or even before the school can take administrative action. Sometimes hazing allegations are a misunderstanding that could be cleared up if addressed right away.
The guidance of legal counsel becomes even more important once charges are filed. An attorney could help negotiate a fair plea bargain, evaluate the evidence against the accused, or take the case to trial when needed.
Possible Defenses to Charges in Rockland County
To be convicted of hazing, a person must intentionally or recklessly create a substantial risk of physical injury. As a result, someone may be able to defend themselves by claiming that their actions were unintentional or did not contribute to a substantial risk of physical injury. For example, if a person accidentally placed another individual in a potentially risky situation, they would not be hazing.
A person could also assert that there was no substantial risk of physical injury and that the allegedly harmed individual was not in serious danger. Even if the allegedly harmed person sustained an actual injury, that injury could have resulted from accidental or unforeseeable causes. Those who need assistance planning their defense against hazing charges should contact a Rockland County lawyer for further information.
Reach Out to a Rockland County Hazing Attorney
If you have been accused of this crime, you may benefit from consulting with a Rockland County hazing lawyer about your case. An experienced attorney could review your situation and see how they could best help you defend your rights.
A lawyer is familiar with these laws and could analyze your case to determine the best approach. They could then work with you to implement a defense plan that gives you the best chance of success, whether in or out of court. To start fighting, back call today for a consultation.