The court system uses Penal Code 245.6 to prosecute the act of hazing. Hazing is a crime that involves dangerous initiation rituals used by “student-based organizations.” Hazing is often treated as a misdemeanor in California. However, it may lead to felony charges if someone is killed in the act of hazing.
The Simmrin Law Group can help you understand your defenses to fight a conviction under PC 245.6. You can reach us at (310) 997-4688.
The Definition of Hazing in California
The term “hazing” refers to a specific task designed to initiate someone into a student organization. In some cases, it is used for pre-initiation. These initiations are against the law if they are likely to cause a student serious bodily injury. The state of California defines students as anyone:
- Currently attending a learning institution
- Formerly attending a learning institution
- Considering attending a learning institution
All schools are covered under hazing laws in California. This includes grade schools as well as:
- Community colleges
- Private colleges
Student-based organizations include fraternities and sororities. However, other organizations may be charged with hazing here in California.
Serious Bodily Injuries and Hazing
Hazing charges only apply if someone takes an action that could cause someone else a serious bodily injury. California uses a broad definition for serious bodily harm. Injuries like concussions or loss of consciousness are considered serious bodily injuries.
Any injury that results in disfigurement could also be considered a serious bodily injury. However, these injuries do not deal with mental distress or harm. For hazing to occur, an individual must be at risk of experiencing a physical injury.
Find out more about specific serious bodily injuries by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Members of our team can provide you with additional information on how to defend yourself against this charge. Call us today at (310) 997-4688.
Consequences for a Hazing Conviction in California
The court treats most hazing charges as misdemeanors. Individuals can face several penalties if they are convicted of a misdemeanor. A PC 245.6 conviction could result in:
- Fines of up to $5,000
- Jail time of up to one year
- Summary probation
Individuals must obey certain regulations handed down by the court when they are on probation. They may end up violating their probation if they ignore these regulations. This could lead to jail time and other penalties.
Note that hazing is a “wobbler” in some circumstances. Wobblers are charges that may get treated as a misdemeanor or a felony. Hazing is a wobbler if someone experiences a serious bodily injury or dies. In this situation, felony charges may apply. A felony conviction could result in up to three years of prison time.
Individuals may face charges similar to hazing in some situations. Depending on the facts of the case, individuals could end up charged with assault or battery.
Reach out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles today to learn more.
Legal Defenses for Hazing Accusations in California
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you handle hazing accusations. The defenses for hazing vary based on the circumstances you are facing. However, some common defenses involve demonstrating that:
You Did Not Engage in Hazing
Hazing has a very specific legal definition. A lawyer can work to show that you were not engaging in an initiation ritual, for example. They can also argue that your actions did not impact a student. In these situations, you would not be involved with hazing. However, you could face different criminal charges.
You Were Incorrectly Accused
Sometimes people make false charges related to hazing in California. This could turn into a situation where it’s your word against someone else’s. A lawyer can help you gather evidence to support your side of the story. This could help you avoid a conviction for hazing in California.
Get Help Handling a Penal Code 245.6: Hazing Charge
You can start working with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles right away to fight a hazing charge. We’re ready to step in to help you build your defense quickly. Reach out to us if you are charged under Penal Code 245.6. Let us help you handle legal questioning, your arraignment hearing, plea bargains, and more. Just call (310) 997-4688 to get started with a free consultation. You may also complete our online contact form.