Hazing is an extremely broad term that includes any ritualized practice of initiation into a social group based on abuse, humiliation, or harassment. Closely related to the formal or informal rites of passage that develop over time in virtually every culture across the globe, hazing is distinguished by the fact that it involves a peer group, rather than recognition of a level of man- or womanhood.
In the U.S., the common image of hazing is a university freshman being forced to consume dangerous amounts of alcohol under pressure from fellow fraternity or sorority members. However, hazing can range from forced sexual acts to branding and severe beatings.
Especially common to groups such as military units, secret societies, gangs, and clubs, the forms that hazing has taken since ancient times have been endless. The case of Chico State University student Michael Carrington, who died after a water intoxication ritual at a fraternity, brought hazing into the national spotlight in 2005. Since this time, a number of states have enacted legislation that makes hazing a serious felony offense.
Perpetrators of hazing crimes usually do not mean to permanently injury or kill their victims, but the level of violence and abuse carried out in the name of fostering brother or sisterhood can have fatal consequences. If you or someone you know has been charged with a hazing offense, you will need the help of an experienced legal team to fight these serious charges. Contact the San Jose criminal defense lawyers of the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. today at (408) 296-4100.