Hazing is a type of ceremony in which many fraternities or sororities will
harass, abuse, or humiliate new pledges as a way of initiating them into
a group. Hazing can range from something as benign as pranks to something
that borders on patterns of abuse or criminal misconduct. Florida is one
of the states that enacting a law specifically addressing hazing.
In 2005, the Florida House of Representatives passed the Chad Meredith
Act, named after a student who drowned during a hazing incident. After
drinking with two officers of a fraternity, Meredith and a group of other
students tried to swim across Lake Osceola. With a blood alcohol content
(BAC) of 0.13, Meredith was unable to swim properly, and he drowned 34
feet from shore in 6 feet and 9 inches of water.
According to the state of Florida, hazing includes any action or situation
that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health
or safety of a student for purposes including, but not limited to, initiation,
admission into, or affiliation with any organization operating under the
sanction of a postsecondary institution.
If you or a group of people are accused of hazing, you could be charged with a 3rd-degree felony if the initiation act results in serious bodily injury or
death. This charge could lead to up to 5 years in prison and a fine of
up to $5,000. However, if the situation only creates a substantial risk
of physical injury or death to another person, you could face a 1st-degree misdemeanor. A misdemeanor could get you up to a year in jail and
a fine of up to $1,000.
Actions that could be considered hazing include, but are not limited to,
- Pressuring a student into violating state or federal laws
- Any brutality of a physical nature (for example, whipping, beating, exposure
to elements, or forced consumption of food or alcohol)
- Any activity that could subject the student to extreme mental stress (such
as sleep deprivation)
- Other forced actions that could adversely affect the mental health or dignity
of a student
Make sure you give yourself the best chance of avoiding a felony or a misdemeanor
conviction by talking to a skilled
Daytona Beach criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Buckmaster & Ellzey has more than 20 years of
legal experience to offer your case. Let us help you defend your rights
and freedom and protect your future.
Contact us at (888) 785-6548 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case