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Certain rituals involving humiliating or physically abusive activities being performed as part of initiating an individual into a select group are commonly referred to as hazing. While hazing has long been commonplace in many Greek letter fraternities and sororities, it is also used by sports teams, military units, and even criminal gangs.

In Florida, hazing not only violates the student code of conduct at many Florida universities and secondary institutions, but it can also result in criminal charges. State law specifically prohibits consent from being used as a defense against hazing charges.

Attorney for Hazing Arrests in Gainesville, FL

Were you recently arrested or are you under investigation for an alleged hazing offense in north central Florida? Having a hazing accusation could cause problems with local authorities and could jeopardize an individual’s academic status at schools like The University of Florida, in Gainesville.

Contact Galigani Law Firm as soon as possible for more information on how to fight hazing accusations.Gainesville criminal defense lawyer Dean Galigani defends college students in Bradford County, Union County, Columbia County, Baker County, and many surrounding areas of Gainesville.

Call (352) 375-0812 to have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.

Overview of Hazing Offenses in Alachua County

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Hazing Penalties in Florida

Under Florida Statute § 1006.63(1), hazing is defined as "any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for purposes including, but not limited to, initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization operating under the sanction of a postsecondary institution." The term includes but is not limited to:

  • pressuring or coercing the student into violating state or federal law;
  • any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, exposure to the elements;
  • forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance; or
  • other forced physical activity that could adversely affect the physical health or safety of the student.

Hazing also includes "any activity that would subject the student to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct that could result in extreme embarrassment, or other forced activity that could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the student."

The term does not include customary athletic events or other similar contests or competitions or any activity or conduct that furthers a legal and legitimate objective.

Hazing is first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, if the alleged offender intentionally or recklessly commits any act of hazing upon another person who is a member of or an applicant to any type of student organization and the hazing creates a substantial risk of physical injury or death to such other person.

If an alleged offender intentionally or recklessly commits any act of hazing upon another person who is a member of or an applicant to any type of student organization and the hazing results in serious bodily injury or death of such other person, the alleged offense is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

According to Florida Statute § 1006.63(5) none of the following circumstances constitute an adequate defense to hazing:

  • The victim’s consent;
  • The conduct or activity that resulted in the death or injury of a person was not part of an official organizational event or was not otherwise sanctioned or approved by the organization; or
  • The conduct or activity that resulted in death or injury of the person was not done as a condition of membership to an organization.

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Common Hazing Locations in Alachua County

Hazing is considered an offense by several Florida universities and post-secondary educational institutions. Some of the colleges and universities in north central Florida that specifically list hazing as a violation include, but are not limited to:

  • Santa Fe College
  • Saint Leo University
  • Florida Gateway College
  • College of Central Florida
  • Rasmussen College

Depending on the institution, a student who is accused of hazing can face any one of a number of sanctions, such as suspension, expulsion, or other academic sanctions.

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Florida Hazing Resources

Hazing | Dean of Students Office | University of Florida — The University of Florida’s goal is to be a “hazing-free university.” On this section of the Dean of Students Office website, you can learn more about examples of hazing, alternatives to hazing, and the problem with hazing. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and the university's definition of hazing.

The Dean of Students Office
202 Peabody Hall
1404 Union Rd.
Gainesville, FL 32603
(352) 392-1261

Hazing Prevention — HazingPrevention.Org identifies itself as a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission "to empower people to prevent hazing." Visit this website to view recent news, press releases, a media press kit, and annual reports. You can also find answers to FAQs about state laws, what you can do, and what people need to know.

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Galigani Law Firm | Gainesville Hazing Defense Lawyer

If you believe that you might be under investigation or you were already arrested for an alleged hazing offense in north central Florida, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Galigani Law Firm represents individuals all over the greater Gainesville area, including communities in Gilchrist County, Alachua County, Marion County, and Levy County.

Dean Galigani is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Gainesville. You can have our lawyers review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (352) 375-0812 or submit an online contact form to take advantage of a free initial consultation.

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