New York Penal Code 120.17: Hazing in the second degree

New York Penal Code 120.17: Hazing in the second degree

Hazing is a dangerous activity that’s widely used by not only gangs but schools, clubs, and groups as a form of initiation for new members. It’s dangerous, and it’s often deadly to those who engage in this type of behavior. Hazing in the second degree is not a criminal offense or a felony, but it is against the law. Those who are found guilty of hazing are sentenced to up to 15 days in jail for their actions. New York law requires all NYC criminal attorneys find proof that the person accused of being involved in hazing did not intentionally cause harm or put someone in harm’s way to find them innocent.

Hazing in the second degree is any act that intentionally increases the risk of or creates the risk of serious physical injury to another person. It is commonly found in gang initiations, sports, and even fraternities or sororities. It’s very much illegal, but it must be proven that the person involved in the act was intentionally put in the way of harm and the risk of physical injury before they are found guilty. Hazing in the first degree is a different situation, and it’s not one that is considered when a second degree crime is committed.

Examples of Hazing in the Second Degree

What makes this crime difficult to understand completely is the complexity of defining danger. There is no law that states a person must be physically injured to be a victim of hazing. As long as there was a risk of being injured and someone else is responsible for placing someone in that place of danger, there is a chance they committed this crime. One example would be when a football player decides to initiate a new player by taking him to the local railroad track with a blindfold on his eyes.

The football player might not have any intention of allowing the new player to become injured at all. He only wants to put him blindfolded on the tracks as a scare tactic. He will leave him there long enough to hear a train coming and feel the tracks begin to move before taking him off long before the train arrives. The new player was not injured or hurt in the incident, but the potential for serious harm or even death if he’d been a moment too late or gotten stuck on the tracks is imminent. The player who put him on the tracks will be charged with hazing in the second degree for putting this other young man’s life on the line.


There are many defenses you can use in a situation like this, and a NYC criminal attorney can help you get through the charges if you can prove no real danger was caused to the person who is accusing you of hazing. To use the above example, if the football player put the new player on tracks he knew were closed down and unable to support a train, he did not put the player in danger at all.

Another example of a good defense is using a fake weapon to scare someone new on a team or in a club. The weapon might scare them and make them feel as if their life is in danger, but it cannot cause harm. This means it cannot be used as a way of harming anyone, and the person who used it will not be charged with hazing in the second degree. While reckless and unintelligent, there is no way this is dangerous. There will be no charges brought against anyone in this situation.

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