Rochester Hazing Defense Attorney
Standing Up for the Accused in Western New York
College students in New York do not often think about the serious consequences of engaging in fraternity and sorority activities, even when Greek life on a university campus involves participation in hazing rituals. Yet hazing can result in serious and fatal injuries, and individuals within the fraternities or sororities where the hazing accident occurred can be held accountable for another person’s injuries or death. To be sure, a college student can face significant criminal charges in relation to hazing. If you are facing criminal charges in connection with a hazing incident on campus, or if you have a child in college who is facing hazing charges, it is essential to begin working with a Rochester criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
In the meantime, what should you know about facing hazing charges and potential defense strategies? The following are some key things to know about hazing charges in Western New York.
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Hazing Can Result in a Criminal Conviction and a Criminal Record
Under New York law, hazing can be charged as hazing in the first degree or hazing in the second degree. With a charge of hazing in the first degree, in the event of a conviction, the defendant will face the penalties of a class A misdemeanor. What is hazing in the first degree? According to New York law, someone is guilty of first degree hazing when, in the initiation into any organization, the person intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct, including, but not limited to, coming into contact with or requiring physical activity of such other person, which creates a risk of physical injury to the other person and causes and injury.
With a class A misdemeanor conviction, a person can face up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and other consequences.
Hazing May Result in Felony Criminal Charges
While the most serious hazing charge under New York law is a misdemeanor, you should know that a hazing incident that results in the death of another person can result in felony charges, which may, in some cases, murder charges.
3 Things to Know About Hazing Criminal Charges in New York
Hazing is a serious criminal offense in New York even though most college and university students do not consider the consequences of engaging in hazing as part of a fraternity or sorority initiation, or initiation into another on-campus group. In recent years, the severe harms of hazing have been highlighted in a variety of ways, often because a college student suffered a debilitating or deadly injury after participating in a fraternity or sorority initiation ritual that involved hazing. When hazing results in injuries, not only can the fraternity or sorority itself be liable, but individual college students can be charged with the criminal offense of hazing. If you are facing hazing charges, you need to have an aggressive Rochester criminal defense attorney on your side.
If you are facing hazing charges, or if you are a member of a fraternity or sorority that still engages in hazing, what do you need to know about New York hazing laws? The following are three things that you should know about hazing charges in New York.
Hazing Can Be a Misdemeanor Criminal Offense If an Injury Occurs
When you are charged with hazing in the first degree, you should know that this is a misdemeanor criminal offense under New York law. When can you face charges for hazing in the first degree? The statutory language says:
“A person is guilty of hazing in the first degree when, in the course of another person’s initiation into or affiliation with any organization, he intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct, including, but not limited to, making physical contact with or requiring physical activity of such other person, which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to such other third person and thereby causes such injury.”
You Can Face a Hazing Violation Even If Nobody is Harmed
You can still face a violation for hazing in the second degree even if nobody is harmed. Under New York law, “a person is guilty of hazing in the second degree when, in the course of another person’s initiation or affiliation with any organization, he intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to such other person or a third person.”
First-Degree Hazing Conviction Can Result in Jail Time
A conviction for hazing in the first degree is a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in up to one year in jail in addition to a fine of up to $1,000. You should know that your sentence may be much steeper if a person is injured or killed in the course of hazing and you face charges beyond hazing.
Various Defenses May Be Available In Your Hazing Case
If you are facing hazing charges, you should know that a criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you show how one or more defenses is applicable in your case. It will be important to work with a criminal defense lawyer in Rochester to tailor a defense strategy to the particular facts of your case. You may be able to prove that your actions were not intentional or reckless, for example. Or, for instance, you might be able to prove that the activity did not create a substantial risk of physical injury and did not constitute hazing. Or, you might be able to show that any injuries at the center of the hazing charges against you were not actually caused by the activity that took place.
Contact Our Rochester Hazing Defense Attorneys
Hazing charges are extremely serious, and you should never attempt to handle your defense on your own. An experienced Rochester hazing defense attorney at our firm can begin working with you today to develop a defense strategy for your case. Contact King Law to learn more about how our New York criminal defense lawyers can assist you with your defense.