Have you been Charged with Hazing in Georgia?
Hazing is considered to be a customary part of life whether it be an initiation into a sports team, a new school, or a club. However, most people are unaware that hazing is a crime and if charged with hazing, you need one of our knowledgeable Georgia Hazing Lawyers to help you with your case. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys bring years of experience and can help you formulate the best defense tailored to your case. A charge is not the same as a conviction, so call us today to schedule your free consultation.
Georgia Law on Hazing
O.C.G.A. §16-5-61 states that hazing means to subject a student to an activity which endangers or is likely to endanger the physical health of a student, regardless of the student's willingness to participate in such activity.
Furthermore, It shall be unlawful for any person to haze any student in connection with or as a condition or precondition of gaining acceptance, membership, office, or other status in a school organization.
There have been numerous organizations that have tried to reform the hazing laws as they argue that hazing is an important part of the initiation process for Greek organizations, sports teams, and other clubs. The Courts have not acknowledged the attempts and have continued to treat hazing as a crime.
What has to be Proven for a Hazing Conviction
To be convicted of hazing, the State must demonstrate that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This involves showing that the activity is either dangerous or was likely to endanger the student. The role of your Attorney is to build gaps in the prosecutor's argument and create doubt in the jury's mind.
Penalty for Hazing in Georgia
A hazing conviction will be classified as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. There is no defined penalty, but it could include prison time, fines, or both. The sentence will be left to the judge or jury for determination.
Defenses to Hazing
It did not endanger the student: If you can prove that the student was not in any danger, then you could have a defense to a hazing charge.
Innocence: If you have an alibi or other testimony showing that you were not a part of the hazing, your Attorney could use that evidence to have the charge dropped.
What are not Defenses in Georgia
They consented to it: As outlined in the statute, it does not matter whether or not a student consented to the hazing activity. It is still a crime.
It was a joke: The Court does not take into consideration whether or not the hazing was supposed to be a joke. Subjecting someone to danger even if you thought it was a joke can still be grounds for a conviction.
Having knowledgeable representation is of up the utmost importance when facing a criminal charge. Your Georgia Hazing Attorney will investigate all the details surrounding your case and evaluate your options. They will be available all the time to you – even nights and weekends – because your case is important. Lawson and Berry and their team of Hazing Lawyers will work with you to fight your charge and avoid a conviction. Call today and schedule a free consultation.