Florida Law on Hazing


Chad Meredith Act (HB 193) (SB 782)

Florida House of Representatives - Law in effect July 1, 2005

Hazing is the subjection of another to extreme physical or mental harassment, usually associated with initiation into a social organization. Under current law, hazing by a college student may subject that student to university or college discipline. Hazing incidents may lead to criminal prosecution under general criminal laws, but there are impediments that make such prosecutions difficult.

This bill creates new criminal offenses specific to hazing at the high school or college level. This bill provides that it is a first-degree misdemeanor to commit an act of hazing that creates a substantial risk of physical injury or death. The offense level increases to a third degree felony if the act of hazing actually results in serious bodily injury or death.

This bill also expands the definition of hazing, and provides a limited exception for certain legitimate activities. This act is named for Chad Meredith, a student at a Florida university who died in a hazing incident.

This bill creates new criminal offenses specific to hazing at the high school or college level. This bill provides that it is a first-degree misdemeanor to commit an act of hazing that creates a substantial risk of physical injury or death. The offense level increases to a third degree felony if the act of hazing actually results in serious bodily injury or death. A sentencing court may order the defendant to complete a 4-hour hazing education course and may also impose a condition of drug or alcohol probation.

This bill provides that certain general defenses to a criminal action are not applicable to the crime of hazing. Notably, consent of the victim is not a defense to hazing. Also, whether or not the hazing was sanctioned or approved as an official organizational event is not a defense, nor is it a defense that the act was not done as a condition of membership of the organization.

Hazing is a Criminal Offense


A person commits hazing, a third degree felony, when he or she intentionally or recklessly commits any act of hazing upon another person who is a member of or an applicant to any type of student organization and the hazing results in serious bodily injury or death of such other person.

A person commits hazing, a first degree misdemeanor, when he or she intentionally or recklessly commits any act of hazing upon another person who is a member of or an applicant to any type of student organization and the hazing creates a substantial risk of physical injury or death to such other person.

It is not a defense to a charge of hazing that:
• The consent of the victim had been obtained;
• The conduct or activity that resulted in the death or injury of a person was not part of an official organizational event or was not otherwise sanctioned or approved by the organization; or
• The conduct or activity that resulted in death or injury of the person was not done as a condition of membership to an organization.

Source: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=15882&