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Will New York students face criminal charges for hazing incident?

There are many people facing criminal charges in New York who never intended to hurt anyone. People make mistakes and in some cases, they are the only ones affected by their choices. In other cases, however, there are victims who are directly and negatively impacted. Even if no harm was intended, people can be held accountable for their actions if another person is hurt or worse.

The fates of several New York City college fraternity members are now in the hands of the county District Attorney who is debating whether to file criminal charges after a student died recently. The student's death reportedly resulted from a hazing incident for the fraternity. 

Reports indicate that a 19-year-old student was engaged in alleged hazing rituals when he was knocked unconscious. He had been running while blindfolded and carrying a weight on his back when he hit his head. Members of the fraternity brought him into a house they had rented in the Pocono Mountains and tried to figure out what to do. After they could not revive him, they took the young man to the hospital, where he later passed away. 

This situation is certainly tragic, but it is very unlikely that any of the fraternity members thought that the so-called ritual could have fatal consequences. Nevertheless, one or more of them may now be facing criminal charges related to the young man's death. Authorities are still trying to determine details that could have a significant impact on who faces charges, and what those charges might be.

It can be critical in times like this for a person to speak with a criminal defense attorney, even before any charges are formally filed. With so much uncertainty and confusion, any number of the fraternity members are likely fearful that they will face expulsion, a criminal record or even jail time and it can be helpful to speak with someone who is familiar with this process and can work to minimize a person's exposure to overly harsh punishment. People in a similar position may have a lot at stake if they are convicted of a crime, so defending against charges can be crucial. 

Source: CBS News, "DA: Criminal charges coming in 'hazing' death of NYC student," Dec. 12, 2013

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