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Has your fraternity or sorority been accused of hazing, or have you been targeted personally for criminal charges involving hazing? If this has happened, you need to seek legal counsel and avoid making any statements to police or campus authorities. Stop all contact with the accuser and find a legal professional that has dealt with hazing cases in the past. You don’t want to face criminal charges or end up sacrificing your education and getting kicked out of school because of the accused crime, and you don’t want to take the blame for a group of people.
Anything that you say to friends, other organization members, the campus police or staff, and even to other students could be used against you, so it’s important not to release any details about the events.
Preparing Your Defense
The lawyer can use a variety of defense tactics to get the charges dropped, or to help you fight the charges to get them reduced. The accuser’s overly eager efforts to get into the organization, the accident that took place and the accuser making their own choice to participate in the activities will all be a part of your defense.
If you feel like it was a setup, and that someone was deliberately trying to get the organization or you in trouble, discuss this with your lawyer. If there are others that believe the conspiracy of a setup, have them prepare statements or also make appointments to talk with your lawyer about the evidence and information.
There also has to be substantial evidence of the events that allegedly took place. The accuser claiming that you or others in your organization said or did things that there are no witnesses to may be filing charges or making claims without substantial evidence, and is trying to press charges with their word against others. Once the lawyer has prepared the case they will inform you if they think it’s best to claim innocence or work out a plea.
In California, you could be facing misdemeanor charges, along with Wobbler penalties and civil charges depending on how severe the crimes were, and what type of crimes were committed. These could be associated with fines, community service, jail time, prison time and more. If you work out a plea deal, you may be able to control the charges and what you get, and keep the charges to a minimum.
These charges could prevent you from getting accepted into another university, from getting a job, and can be on your permanent record for a lifetime. Getting a lawyer to fight the hazing charges, and to prove that the accuser was a willing participant who wasn’t forced to engage in the activities that took place is the best option you have. Sit down and consult with a lawyer so you have legal representation, and let all authorities and campus staff know they need to contact your lawyer if they want to discuss the matter with you or have a hearing.