Hazing is a reprehensible and prohibited practice within the state of Pennsylvania. Primarily targeting students and minors, it involves the initiation of new members into fraternities, sororities, clubs, and social groups. Both on and off-campus, educational institutions catering to students from grades seven through 12 can be affected. Hazing entails coercing, instigating, or forcefully involving minors in activities that compromise their emotional and physical well-being, potentially leading to severe consequences.
Individuals and organizations found to endorse or facilitate hazing are held accountable under the law. If you are a concerned parent of a minor accused of hazing or an adult facing allegations of organizational or institutional hazing, seek the expertise of the Logue Law Group. Our highly skilled Washington PA criminal lawyer has extensive experience in designing effective legal strategies to protect your freedom and future.
Take the first step towards resolution by arranging a complimentary initial consultation with our reliable Washington PA DUI attorney. Contact Logue Law Group online or at 844.PITT.DUI.
Pennsylvania Hazing Law
Following a hazing-related tragedy at Penn State in 2017, Pennsylvania’s hazing law underwent changes, resulting in increased penalties.
The law explicitly defines hazing as:
- Coercing or forcing a student or minor to violate state or federal law
- Compelling consumption of substances, such as food, liquids, alcohol, or drugs, that may cause emotional or physical harm
- Subjecting individuals to physical, mental, or sexual abuse
- Engaging in actions that are likely to cause bodily injury
Examples of hazing can vary in severity and may include:
- Compelled alcohol or drug consumption leading to intoxication
- Water intoxication
- Partial or total nudity
- Paddling, whipping, or other forms of physical assault
- Verbal abuse, including name-calling
- Sleep deprivation
- Wearing humiliating attire
- Undertaking degrading or meaningless tasks
It is crucial to recognize that hazing can manifest in various degrees, from subtler forms to more extreme instances of harassment or violence.
Hazing can result in various charges, depending on the severity of the offense:
- Summary Offense: This offense carries a fine as punishment.
- Misdemeanor of the Third Degree: If the hazing offense resulted in or posed a risk of bodily harm, it can lead to a jail term of six months to one year and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Third-Degree Felony: Aggravated hazing that causes serious bodily harm or death is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Organizational hazing charges may result in fines of up to $5,000 per proven instance of hazing. In aggravated cases, fines can be increased to $15,000.
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