Hazing is a common practice for many different memberships and organizations. It is, however, an unlawful practice. If a group or organization’s activities fall within the legal definition of hazing, a prosecutor could press charges against those involved in the unlawful activities and a conviction for hazing could have serious and far-reaching consequences.
Hazing crimes are defined in Chapter 200 of Nevada’s criminal code, which is the Chapter of Title 15 that contains the rules and regulations associated with crimes against persons. If a defendant is accused of hazing, understanding the definition of the crime found within Chapter 200 will be vitally important to formulate a response to charges.
LV Criminal Defense is here to help. Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers have represented many defendants accused of crimes against persons, including hazing and other serious offenses. We know how the law works, what a prosecutor must prove, and what your options are for trying to avoid a guilty verdict. We have also provided assistance to defendants not only in fighting for an acquittal in court but also in negotiating favorable plea agreements that reduce the possible consequences associated with conviction.
If you are accused of hazing, you should reach out to our legal team as soon as possible. We can advise you during an interrogation, help you to build your own case and gather evidence, and work with you at every step of your involvement within the criminal justice system so you can make the right choices to reduce the chances a conviction for hazing will derail your life. To find out more about how our firm can help you, give us a call today.
Nevada’s laws on hazing are found in Nevada Revised Statute section 200.605. According to the relevant statute, hazing is defined to include any activity in which the defendant intentionally or recklessly endangers the physical health of another person for purposes of initiating that person into a student organization, an academic association, or an athletic team at any high school, college, or university.
Hazing also includes activities in which a defendant intentionally or recklessly endangers the physical health of another person in connection with that individual affiliating himself with a student organization, athletic team, or academic association.
Hazing includes any and all physical brutality or brutal treatment. Examples include, but not are not limited to, branding a victim, beating a victim, causing a victim to engage in forced calisthenics, exposing a victim to the elements, forcing a victim to consume food, forcing a victim to consume liquid, forcing a victim to consume drugs, or forcing a victim to consume any other substances.
For purposes of determining whether a defendant is forced into a behavior or not, the applicable definition includes any circumstances in which initiation into or affiliation with a student group, academic association, or athletic team is directly or indirectly conditioned upon participation in the activity.
N.R.S. 200.605 explains within the statute that there are exceptions to the law for athletic, curricular, extracurricular, or quasi-military practices, or competitions either sponsored or approved by the high school, the college, or the university.
If a defendant engages in hazing and is convicted, the defendant will be found guilty of a misdemeanor in most circumstances unless there were aggravating factors. For example, a defendant can be found guilty of a misdemeanor for hazing, rather than a more serious crime, only if the victim did not sustain any type of substantial bodily harm.
If a victim of hazing sustained substantial bodily harm as a result of the hazing, then the defendant who engaged in the hazing behavior could be convicted of a gross misdemeanor offense.
It is important also to note that the statute that defines hazing in Nevada, N.R.S. 200.605, makes clear that the consent of the victim to hazing is not a valid defense to being prosecuted under the law. This means that even if the alleged victim agreed to whatever the behavior is that is being classified as hazing, the prosecutor could still press charges if the hazing met the definition of being an activity that intentionally or recklessly endangers the health of a victim in exchange for the victim being able to belong to or affiliate himself with the organization.
Even a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor offense can come with serious consequences for being convicted,. Jail time is a possibility for any defendant who has been found guilty of hazing. Fines, community service, probation, and other related penalties could also potentially be imposed upon those who engaged in crimes against the person like hazing.
Being left with a criminal record can also be a major consequence for those who are accused of hazing, especially if the defendant who is accused is still in school at the time of the incident. Conviction could potentially impact the defendant’s enrollment status at the school he or she is attending, and it could also make it much more difficult to obtain a job after graduating from school.
LV Criminal Defense can provide you with dedicated advocacy as you fight accusations that you engaged in hazing behavior. Our Nevada defense law firm will help you to approach your case in a practical, strategic way with the goal of trying to avoid conviction or lessen penalties that a hazing conviction could result in.
We know that your future is at stake and we take our responsibility as your advocates very seriously to help you to ensure that you maximize your chances for an acquittal or a favorable plea deal. To find out more about how our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers can help you, give us a call today.