There are many colleges in and around Athens, Georgia. That includes the University of Georgia and Athens Technical College among others. With the number of students that pass through the doors of these institutions, it is inevitable that some will face problems with the law. Often, that is connected to drinking under age, driving under the influence, drug-related charges, fighting and other allegations. All require experienced representation to avoid problematic consequences. As society slowly returns to normal after the past year-plus, there are other issues that should be considered. One is a new law that went into effect on July 1 designed to address college hazing.

Anti-hazing law addresses a common college complaint

College students who are just getting started in their advanced education will want to take part in various activities. That may include joining a sports team, a fraternity or a club. In the past, members have used initiation rituals on prospective members. This can go beyond innocent joking and extend to dangerous behaviors such as excessive drinking, eating substances that can cause illness or death and more.

The Max Gruver Act references a student from Georgia who went to Louisiana State University and suffered from alcohol poisoning and died after he was hazed at the school. In Georgia, universities both public and private are required to have systems in place to report, investigate and have due process if there is hazing going on. The law passed in late-March. It bans students being forced to take part in behaviors that could endanger them. The penalties for a conviction can be severe and the law’s sponsor hopes that felonies are possible for certain cases if there is serious harm or death.

College students accused of hazing should understand the law

Despite the negative connotations with hazing, college students may make the mistake of thinking their behaviors do not constitute a legal violation. They might be accused of activities that directly violate the law. People do not need to be injured or become ill for there to be a criminal act and young people could find themselves in trouble if they are caught and arrested for hazing. A conviction may lead to problems staying in school, jail time, fines and other penalties. It is wise to avoid hazing, but if there are accusations, it does not automatically mean they are true.

Forging a strong criminal defense is a critical aspect of a successful outcome with any accusations of wrongdoing. Whether the behavior took place and went too far or those accused are innocent, it is imperative to know how to combat the charges. Evidence must be assessed, witnesses spoken to and the case scrutinized. Having experienced assistance with known skill in the courtroom can be essential from the beginning to address any criminal charges.