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South Carolina Code Annotated 16-3-510: Hazing (Misdemeanor)

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Hazing (Misdemeanor) Under South Carolina Code Annotated 16-3-510, hazing occurs when the Defendant intentionally or recklessly engages in acts that have the likelihood to cause physical harm to another person for the purpose of initiation and/or admission into a social organization, sorority, or fraternity.

To prove the crime of hazing, the State of South Carolina must be able to establish by relevant and admissible evidence, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, that

  1. That the Defendant intentionally and/or recklessly engaged in acts
  2. The acts have a foreseeable potential for causing physical harm to a person for the purpose of
  3. Initiation or admission into or affiliation with a chartered or non-chartered fraternity, sorority or other student organization

“Fraternity” means a fraternity, sorority or other organization (chartered or non-chartered) which operates in connection with a school, university or college.

The crime of hazing does not include federal, state or educational military training or customary athletic events (or similar contests/competitions).

2. Examples

Defendant is a student at the University of South Carolina and a member of the Lambda Alpha Omega fraternity. As part of the initial few weeks of school, Defendant and other fraternity members hold parties for prospective pledges. After the fraternity chooses its new members, Defendant and other members hold their yearly pledge Hell Week during which the new pledges are forced to engage in fraternity rituals from day until night for an entire week. One night, Defendant makes Victim (a pledge Defendant doesn’t like to drink alcohol) consume an entire twelve pack of beer in less than an hour. Victim has only consumed alcohol once or twice before in his entire life. Victim gets alcohol poisoning and has to go to the hospital. Defendant and any other fraternity members who assisted can be charged with and convicted of hazing in South Carolina.

Defendant is a member of a fraternity at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. The pledges are about to be initiated into the fraternity and will become members. Defendant makes all the pledges eat a hot dog bun filled with smokeless tobacco and butter. Several pledges become severely ill. Defendant can be face criminal charges for hazing in SC.

3. Related Statutes/Articles

For other similar articles or related statutes to assault, assault and battery, hazing in South Carolina, Campus Police, Title IX, and other crimes against persons, please see:

  1. S.C. Code Ann. 16-3-520: Failing to Report Hazing
  2. Dangerous Hazing a Felony Soon in SC if Bill Passes
  3. Carolina Law Blog
  4. Assault and Battery charges in South Carolina
4. Defenses

Hazing (Misdemeanor) The Defendant cannot use the express or implied consent of the victim to the acts as a defense to the crime of hazing. The Defendant has a defense if they can show they did not engage in hazing or otherwise assist those who engaged in hazing. Hazing is a serious criminal charge in South Carolina.

5. Penalties for Hazing

The crime of hazing is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum period of incarceration of twelve months in a state correctional facility or county jail. Additionally, in the court’s discretion, the defendant may be subject to a monetary fine up to $500.

6. Criminal Defense for Hazing

If you have been charged with hazing, you need to contact an experienced South Carolina criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Hazing has garnered substantial negative attention over the last decade. In fact, as of Spring 2020 the South Carolina state legislature is considering a bill which would make hazing a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Jail time in addition to monetary fines and/or civil damages is possible if convicted.

At Powers Law Firm PA, our South Carolina attorney provides a zealous defense to criminal charges if you have been accused of hazing. It is of utmost importance that you prepare for your defense without delay.

Please call 803-504-6686 today to schedule your confidential consultation. There are no consultation fees for South Carolina criminal charges.

Chris J. Beddow is the sole South Carolina criminal defense lawyer at Powers Law Firm, PA. Chris Beddow is solely responsible for all SC legal content and information about the SC criminal laws on this website.

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