Could a New Anti-Hazing Law Put Your College Student at Risk for Criminal Charges?

Young Criminal in Florida

If you currently have a college student in the state of Florida, it is imperative that you know about the new anti-hazing law in our state. It is also equally important that you clearly relay these laws to your child. According to Inside College Ed, the new law allows prosecutors to bring charges of hazing against sorority and fraternity members who helped plan a hazing incident but were not present at the actual hazing. The new Florida law may well be the most intricate in the country.

How Does the New Florida Anti-Hazing Law Stand Out From Others?

This law includes a unique provision that protects students who try to contact first-responders. The first person who contacts 911 or campus security to secure medical attention for a hazing victim will avoid criminal liability under the new law. Lawmakers hope this will encourage students to act instead of fearing punishment. This measure could save lives because hazing victims who receive timely medical attention may have better odds to survive the incident.

The new anti-hazing law also targets the “planners” of a hazing incident. Prosecutors can now criminally charge these planners—even if they were not present at the event. This aspect of the law could potentially affect fraternity or sorority leaders or administrators in some cases. Some college officials must sign off on Greek life events. Now, those officials may face criminal charges if a hazing incident occurs at an event they approved. If there is common knowledge of a hazing event and a death occurs, the anti-hazing law can also hold individuals from the entire chapter responsible.

The Origins of Andrew’s Law

Andrew’s Law was named for a Florida State University pledge, Andrew Coffey. On November 2, 2017, Coffey was at an off-campus event known as “Big Brother Night”. Though not technically forced to drink in excess, the threat of ostracism prodded many individuals to binge drink. Coffey drank until he fell unconscious. The next morning a fellow pledge found Coffey without a pulse. He succumbed to alcohol poisoning, testing a BAC of 0.447, which is almost six times the legal limit.

After Coffey’s death, the president of FSU shut down all sorority and fraternity activities, partially lifting the ban a couple of months later. Coffey’s parents, as well as other anti-hazing advocates, lobbied Florida Legislature to amp up state hazing laws—which was a first-degree misdemeanor at the time, or a third-degree felony if a victim was seriously injured or died. Andrew’s Law expands punishments to include those who helped plan—or were even aware—of a hazing incident.

Contact Our Melbourne Criminal Defense Attorneys

If your college student is being charged under the new anti-hazing law, it is essential that you contact an experienced Melbourne criminal lawyer as quickly as possible.

Our office is conveniently located in Melbourne, Florida and we serve all of Brevard County, Florida. Please contact an experienced divorce lawyer at the Law Office of Jeffrey Thompson today by calling (321)-253-3771.

Additional Resources

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