For athletes on a team, hazing might seem like a rite of passage. However, the law doesn't view these acts in the same manner, and it's possible for teenaged athletes to get charged with various criminal offenses after a hazing incident. If you have a child who plays sports at a high level, you might understandably be worried about hazing. While you might initially worry about the team hazing him or her, you should also be concerned about your teen getting caught up in a hazing scandal as one of the perpetrators. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help your family if this were to happen, but educating your child about hazing can hopefully prevent charges. Here are some topics to cover.

What It Looks Like

There are many different types of hazing and, indeed, some minor forms that aren't really harmful. For example, if your child is a veteran on the team and has a rookie carry his or her gear, it's perhaps not the friendliest thing to do, but isn't likely to be deemed hazing. Actions cross the line into hazing when they become aggressively cruel and hurtful. For example, a group of players that corners a rookie in the shower and whips him or her with towels as a "welcome to the team" moment might be viewed as participating in casual hazing by some, but the police could view this as an assault.

The Ease Of Being Caught

Your teen might have a "what happens with the team stays with the team" mindset, but you need to emphasize that this belief isn't true when someone is breaking the law. While there might be players who aren't keen to report on their teammates, others will. It's also possible that players will have cellphone videos of these incidents, and security cameras at the school or athletic fields might also capture incriminating footage. Your teen needs to know that it's very easy to get caught for hazing.

The Long-Term Consequences

You should ensure that your teen understands the severity of hazing from a legal perspective. A serious incident can lead to an arrest, which can result in your child having a young offender record — and going through a lot of scary legal situations. It's also likely that your child will be removed from the team, and may also be expelled. While it's a bit drastic to tell your teen that his or her life will be ruined by hazing, he or she should know that these consequences are nothing to take lightly. If your teen has been charged with hazing of any kind, consult with an attorney experienced in criminal law.