Hazing is a type of initiation ceremony practiced in the United States. It usually involves the practice of rituals, challenges, and other activities involving abuse, humiliation, or harassment. College fraternities have acquired a poor reputation for their hazing practices, some of which have led to the physical harm or even deaths of some initiates. Since 1970, there has been at least one hazing-related death on college campuses each year.
The Attorney General of New Jersey has developed a Pledge’s Bill of Rights that lists examples of what qualifies as hazing. Many New Jersey campuses have integrated this Bill of Rights to protect their students from potential hazing practices. These activities include the following:
- Participation in sexual rituals or assaults
- Mentally abusive or demeaning behavior,
- Forced or required ingestion of alcohol, food, drugs, or any undesirable substance
- Acts that could result in physical, mental, or emotional harm or deprivation
- Physical abuse, such as whipping, paddling, beating, tattooing, branding, and exposure to the elements
If people are found guilty of hazing, New Jersey’s anti-hazing law will make defendants eligible for maximum criminal sanctions of up to 6 months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 for a disorderly person offense. In addition, hazing that results in the serious bodily injury of an individual is called aggravated hazing and is a 4th-degree crime. Aggravated hazing can result in up to 18 months in prison and a possible fine of $10,000. Likewise, each additional incident of hazing will add another $50 to the fine. In addition to criminal charges, those found guilty of hazing or aggravated hazing could face civil lawsuits from the victims or the victims’ families. These lawsuits could cost you thousands of dollars in compensation for a person’s injuries, lost wages, and/ or pain and suffering.
If you’ve been accused of hazing or aggravated hazing, make sure to talk to a skilled Bergen County criminal defense lawyer. Our qualified attorneys at Brickfield & Donahue can offer you more than 55 years of combined legal experience. Our firm is known for aggressive advocacy, strategic legal representation, and compassionate client service, all of which have led to positive results for hundreds of the people we’ve helped. Whether you’re facing a misdemeanor or a felony, let us take a look at your case and offer advice regarding your best course of action. Our attorneys, Paul B. Brickfield and Joseph R. Donahue, will work on getting your case dismissed or getting an acquittal, but if that is not achieved, they will do their best to minimize any criminal or collateral consequences through all possible legal means. Let us see what we can do for you.
Get your case started today by calling us at (201) 574-7919 or filling out our online form today.