Despite rising awareness of some of the clearly traumatic and dangerous results of rough hazing, hazing incidents remain common in Pennsylvania. Many students are unaware of the wide range of behaviors that can be considered hazing, or simply let a situation get out of hand and goes too far.

Almost half of all college students report being a victim of hazing at some point during their college career, demonstrating just how ingrained hazing practices have become. Colleges, universities and other schools of higher learning must take an active role in educating students of the behaviors that constitute hazing, as well as the potential consequences. Otherwise, the horrible hazing tragedies affecting our young people will only happen more often.

What Could Happen to Me If I Am Accused of Hazing?

When hazing tragedies happen, they can impact a young person’s life for years afterwards. Of course the victim suffers, but the alleged perpetrators experience serious consequences as well. Many colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area, including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and Temple University can expel a student found responsible for certain hazing actions. The legal consequences can be worse, though. This is especially true when you realize that hazing itself is illegal in Pennsylvania. Under Pennsylvania statute, “any act or coercing another, including the victim, to do any act of initiation into any student or other organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any person” is illegal. This includes a wide range of behaviors, and it does not matter if the victim consents to participating.

As a third degree misdemeanor, hazing charges can lead to real jail time, as well as fines, institutional consequences imposed by the college or university, and long-term punishments associated with having a criminal record. This is on top of any liability or charges associated with the actual damage done by the hazing—which can range from relatively minor property crimes charges to serious kidnapping or assault charges.

Hazing Charges Involving College Students

Many innocent students are often charged alongside those leading the hazing. If you or your child has been accused of any hazing-related behaviors by either the school or local law enforcement, you need a strong legal defense to keep an educational career on track. Call the Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyers at Fienman Defense at (215) 839-9529 today for a free consultation on your case. Find out how we may be able to help get your case the best outcome possible—both on campus and off.

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