When Criminal Charges Arise from “Harmless” Hazing
Often described as a “harmless rite of passage,” or “tradition among members,” the issue of hazing frequently makes the news when an injury or even death occurs. When this happens, it is necessary for police to get involved, and that may result in those involved facing serious criminal charges.
Hazing Laws in Illinois
In 2014, the Illinois legislature approved passage of a bill that criminalized the act of hazing. That law provides for the following:
- A person commits hazing when they knowingly act in a way or cause a situation that puts another at risk of bodily injury for the purposes of induction or admittance to any group, organization, or society connected with an educational institution.
- The action or situation is not authorized or sanctioned by the educational institution.
- Hazing is a Class A misdemeanor that may carry a sentence of up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Charges may be upgraded to a Class 4 felony if the action results in death or great bodily harm.
- A Class 4 felony may result in a sentence of between one and three years in prison, and a fine of up to $25,000 for an individual.
Making the Headlines
Even when claims or cases of hazing are reviewed and adjudicated by the learning institution at which they occur, it is still possible for those involved to face further punishment. This was the case in a recent incident which took place at a private college in suburban Illinois.
Following an incident of hazing that occurred during the previous school term, five football players were required by the school to write an essay and perform 50 hours of community service, and they were not allowed to play in the team’s first game of the 2016 season. Hospital personnel reported injuries sustained by the alleged victim of the hazing to local police. A lengthy investigation resulted in criminal charges of mob action, unlawful restraint, and aggravated battery for the five student athletes.
Rely on an Experienced Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney
Never attempt to defend yourself in court when facing prosecution for serious criminal charges that could result in your serving prison time or even a period of probation. Find a knowledgeable and aggressive Will County criminal defense lawyer who will work to ensure fair treatment by the court and the best possible outcome for your case. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba is dedicated to protecting your freedom and your rights by presenting a thorough defense for you.