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New Jersey Hazing Lawyer

From religious ceremonies to academic achievement, most people experience many rites of passage as they grow up. Sometimes, a rite of passage involves an initiation ritual into a club or a group. However, sometimes those initiations can involve questionable activities that ultimately prove to be dangerous for the individuals subject to them, and potentially criminal for those engaging in them.

Hazing is not just something that happens on college campuses. Hazing can happen anywhere. It may happen on sports teams. Hazing has even happened throughout branches of the military. Understanding more about hazing can help you understand the choices you may need to make when it comes to criminal charges surrounding hazing. If you are facing these charges, a New Jersey hazing lawyer can help guide you through the legal process. Contact a skilled harassment attorney right away. 

What Actions Are Considered Hazing?

Joining a group can often involve activities and rituals that are fun for both the people engaging in them and those who organized them. However, when these activities come with the possibility of bodily harm, they become a crime.

This law is purposely vague as far as what qualifies as hazing. Hazing could include forcing individuals to drink large amounts of alcohol, depriving individuals of essential needs like food or water, preventing individuals from receiving emergency services, keeping individuals outside during cold weather with no clothes, severely physically abusing individuals, or any other activity likely to result in bodily harm.

New Jersey Laws Regarding Hazing

2C of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 40-3 makes hazing a crime when an individual knowingly or recklessly organizes, promotes, or facilitates conduct that puts participants at risk of bodily injury. Violations of this law can result in a charge of being disorderly, which can be punishable by time in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Even if the behavior was not intended to harm an individual, these activities can all too often take a serious turn for the worse. When an individual suffers a serious bodily injury as a result of hazing, the charge becomes aggravated hazing which is considered a crime in the fourth degree. Consequences for this class of crime can include more than a year in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Unfortunately, hazing can also result in death. When that happens, individuals can face even more serious charges depending on the circumstances surrounding the death. Therefore, it can be critical for the accused to speak with a New Jersey hazing lawyer right away.

Help From a New Jersey Hazing Attorney

Preserving traditions and experiencing trials to be part of a group is part of our culture and are prevalent in society. When those activities are safe and fun for everyone involved, they can make lasting memories.

However, they do not always work out as planned. Most individuals organizing initiation rites and activities do not do so with the goal of causing serious harm to anyone, but mistakes do happen. When they do, there can be serious consequences that can stay with an individual for the rest of their life.

If you are facing hazing charges in New Jersey, contact a New Jersey hazing lawyer to understand more about your rights and what your options may be to navigate the legal challenges you are facing.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding New Jersey Hazing Law

When a ritual or ceremony crosses a line into hazing territory, it can be a confusing and subjective process. While hazing can be considered a degrading, humiliating, or dangerous form of initiation for some, others may share a different perspective. The vague definition of hazing is one of the reasons why it’s necessary to work alongside a New Jersey hazing attorney as soon as possible if you’ve been accused of hazing. The complexities of acts of hazing can lead to unnecessary and inappropriate criminal charges. Here are some common questions our law office often receives regarding New Jersey hazing law, hazing charges, and hazing penalties.

What is hazing?

Hazing is defined as intentional behavior that results in the humiliation, harassment, or ridicule of another person. Hazing often encourages emotional and/or physical harm to members of an organized group. Hazing can occur whether or not members of an organization agree or don’t agree to participate in the act.

Defining an act of hazing can become convoluted and the intentions of participating individuals are often misunderstood. Regardless of intentions, being charged with hazing is a severe offense and New Jersey takes hazing laws seriously. Contact a criminal defense attorney that specializes in defending hazing cases in New Jersey to learn more.

What does the New Jersey hazing law say?

New Jersey hazing law states the following:

§ 2C:40-3. Hazing; aggravated hazing

  1. A person is guilty of hazing, a disorderly persons offense, if, in connection with the initiation of applicants to or members of a student or fraternal organization, he knowingly or recklessly organizes, promotes, facilitates, or engages in any conduct, other than competitive athletic events, which places or may place another person in danger of bodily injury.
  2. A person is guilty of aggravated hazing, a crime of the fourth degree, if he commits an act prohibited in subsection a. which results in serious bodily injury to another person.

§ 18A:3-25. Pledge's Bill of Rights

The Attorney General shall develop a "Pledge's Bill of Rights" which outlines acceptable and unacceptable behavior and activities in regard to the pledge or rushing activities of college and university fraternities and sororities and other similar campus organizations. In developing the bill of rights, the Attorney General shall review the existing pledge and anti-hazing policies and procedures of public and independent institutions of higher education within the State and shall, as appropriate, incorporate those policies into the bill of rights. The Attorney General shall make the "Pledge's Bill of Rights" available to each institution of higher education within the State.

§ 18A:3-26. Information on hazing included

The bill of rights developed by the Attorney General pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.388 (C.18A:3-25) shall include information on the criminal penalties for hazing and aggravated hazing established pursuant to P.L.1980, c.169 (C.2C:40-3 et seq.).

What’s the difference between ‘hazing’ and ‘aggravated hazing’?

If you’ve been accused of hazing, it’s important to realize the difference between hazing charges and aggravated hazing charges. In New Jersey, a person is guilty of hazing, a disorderly persons offense, if, in connection with the initiation of applicants to or members of a student or fraternal organization, the individual knowingly or recklessly organizes, promotes, facilitates, or engages in any conduct, other than competitive athletic events, which places or may place another person in danger of bodily injury. A person is guilty of aggravated hazing, a crime of the fourth degree, if he commits an act that results in serious bodily injury to another person.

The key difference between hazing and aggravated hazing is that with aggravated hazing, someone has been injured. If the act doesn’t result in any injuries, it would fall under hazing, which can lead to a disorderly persons offense. It’s important to keep in mind that both charges are considered serious under New Jersey law and it’s highly recommended to seek legal representation if you’ve been accused of either hazing or aggravated hazing.

What is an example of hazing?

Hazing can occur in sports teams, clubs, honor societies and is most often associated with Greek life in fraternities and sororities on college campuses. During “pledge week” or “initiation week” at colleges and universities, potential new members or “pledges” will participate in challenges or activities that might be considered grueling, tiresome, or uncomfortable to prove their commitment as a member of the fraternity or sorority. There is often a fine line between an uncomfortable or challenging initiation ritual and hazing. Under New Jersey hazing law, a ritualistic act becomes an act of hazing if the members of the fraternity place the pledges’ lives in danger. This can be through physical punishment or servitude of some kind. An example of fraternity hazing might be not allowing their pledges to eat for days at a time, paddling pledges, or forcing pledges to physically abuse one another through organized fighting. Of course, hazing doesn’t only occur on college campuses and fraternity initiations. Veterans, current members of the military, honor students, and high-ranking club members all over the state of New Jersey have been accused of hazing in some form or another.

Remember that hazing can be interpreted in vastly different ways according to the circumstances and the individuals involved. In order to understand hazing charges or hazing law, contact a New Jersey hazing attorney as soon as possible to discuss other examples of hazing or your specific hazing case.

What are the penalties for hazing in New Jersey?

The penalties for hazing in New Jersey can range. Violations of the hazing law can result in a charge of being disorderly, which can be punishable by time in prison and fines up to $1000. If you’ve been involved in an incident where an individual is injured, the charge becomes aggravated hazing which is considered a crime in the fourth degree. However, due to incidents that happened at Penn State University in 2017, causing serious bodily injury as a result of hazing can result in a felony of the third degree. Consequences for this class of crime can include more than a year in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Over the last few years, New Jersey has been implementing harsher penalties for hazing in an attempt to prevent hazing at major colleges or universities that host fraternity initiation events with pledges. It’s important to keep in mind that if you’ve recently been accused of hazing, the New Jersey court will likely want to make an example out of your hazing case. Contact our law office to speak with a hazing attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.

What should you do if you’ve been accused of hazing in New Jersey?

If you’ve been accused of hazing in New Jersey, regardless if it’s considered hazing or aggravated hazing, the first thing you should do is contact a New Jersey criminal defense attorney that has experience in hazing, harassment, or other similar charges. In addition, it’s critical that you do not discuss the details of your case with anyone but your criminal defense attorney. Do not discuss your case with your roommates, other pledges, other participants in the initiation, college officials, professors, or even your family members. Only share these details with your attorney. Remember that any statements made to anyone else, who may or may not be involved with the hazing incident, can be used against you. In order for your criminal defense attorney to formulate an effective defense strategy for your hazing charge, it’s important to refrain from speaking to anyone else but your lawyer. To understand your options and to begin developing a plan to produce the best possible outcome for your case, contact our law office today to speak with a hazing attorney.

What should I look for when seeking a New Jersey hazing attorney?

The most important thing to look for in a New Jersey criminal defense attorney is one that focuses on hazing cases, understands New Jersey hazing law, and has had experience defending hazing cases in the past. When looking for the best New Jersey hazing attorney, contact the law office of John Fabriele. Only New Jersey criminal defense attorney John Fabriele can clearly explain your hazing case, create an effective defense, and help you achieve the best possible results. John’s extensive experience throughout the years has given him the knowledge and legal skills to defend both Municipal Court cases, as well as serious indictable offenses in New Jersey’s Superior Courts. Contact the law office of John Fabriele today to take advantage of a free evaluation of your hazing case.

New Jersey Hazing Lawyer John B. Fabriele

The Law Office of New Jersey Criminal Attorney John B. Fabriele is available to take your hazing case and fight your criminal charge. Statistics show that the sooner you get an experienced attorney working on your hazing case, the easier it is to achieve the best possible results. We relentlessly and aggressively work for our clients to create a strong defense for your hazing offense and create the most desirable outcomes.

New Jersey Hazing Lawyer Office

New Jersey Hazing Lawyer

Criminal Defense Attorney John B. Fabriele

197 State Route 18 South Suite 203N
East Brunswick , NJ
08816

Phone: (732) 246-0888