How Hazing At School Can Turn Into A Criminal Charge

The Practice Of Hazing

Hazing is a sort of ritualistic action that is meant to indoctrinate individuals to join into certain groups. This practice is typically meant to embarrass, demean, and devalue individuals as a sort of way to prove their loyalty to the group or team they are attempting to join. Hazing can consist of forced alcohol consumption, forced physical labor, along with various forms of humiliation. Hazing occurs on sports teams and clubs, along with college fraternities and sororities. Hazing is a ritual that is focused on power and control. While some hazing can be minor and generally innocent, other forms of hazing can easily go too far. Hazing can lead to criminal charges and penalties if certain factors are present.

Potential For Criminal Charges Due To Hazing

If a physical injury occurs as a result of hazing, then the person accused of hazing can face up to 93 days in jail on a misdemeanor charge and up to a $1,000 fine. If a victim suffers a serious impairment of a body function as a result of hazing, then the person accused of hazing can face a felony charge with a maximum penalty of five year in prison and up to a $2,500 fine. If the subject of the hazing dies as a result of hazing, then the accused can face a more serious felony charge with a maximum penalty of fifteen years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

It is important to remember that if the hazing alleged violates any other criminal laws, then you are subject to those charges as well. Crimes such as assault, sexual assault, and kidnapping are frequently committed in conjunction with hazing activities. These cases often become very newsworthy and public, due to the fact they typically occur at or around schools.

Current Hazing Unfolding Locally

In Macomb County, Warren De La Salle High School is the center of a very public hazing investigation. Members of the school’s football team are potentially facing criminal charges due to allegations of hazing. According to multiple sources, the victim was held face down by multiple teammates, while he was prodded in the buttocks with a broomstick while being sexually taunted. No penetration was alleged. These allegations have already resulted in the forfeiture of the team’s playoff game which ended their season abruptly. De La Salle has won three of the last five state championships, including two in a row. The decision to forfeit the game was announced on the eve of the state playoffs by De La Salle High School officials. The Prosecutor has yet to make a final determination in whether or not to file criminal charges against those involved in the alleged hazing as new witnesses and potential victims are still coming forward. Even if the prosecutor decides to not file charges, there will undoubtedly be those who disagree with that decision and will voice their opinion publicly. This is truly a no-win situation for everyone involved. Consequences of mere allegations alone have resulted in the forfeiture of their season, along with potential trauma of being pushed into the public spotlight at such a young age. This case is also a stark reminder that even though something may occur at school, it still falls under any applicable state or federal law. In this case, the students accused of hazing could be facing assault charges or even worse depending on the allegations.

How We Can Help

If you or someone you love is being investigated for hazing or facing criminal charges related to alleged hazing, then it is important to simply assert your right to remain silent and seek counsel from an attorney. Speaking to school officials is just the same as speaking to the police. They can use your statements against you and those you speak to can and will testify against you. Peer pressure in these cases can be difficult to bear. It is important that you get proper advice and representation to help prevent more severe consequences. At Grabel & Associates we have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully representing criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. We always offer a FREE consultation to anyone seeking information surrounding a potential or active criminal case. Feel free to call our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896, contact us online, or come visit us at one of our three statewide offices. We can also come to you.

Contact Information