Ravens running back Ray Rice pleaded not guilty to third-degree aggravated assault on Thursday and learned he will not receive any jail time stemming from a February incident at an Atlantic City casino.
The 27-year-old applied for the pretrial intervention program, which allows certain defendants — often first-time offenders — to avoid formal prosecution. The prosecutor offered a plea deal that includes probation with no jail time and anger management counseling.
Though nothing is official, these developments during an arraignment hearing in Mays Landing, N.J. mean Rice will not be serving any time in prison. A third-degree aggravated assault charge carries a prison term of three to five years, but Rice would accept the prosecution’s plea deal should he not be approved for the pretrial intervention program.
Rice was arrested and charged with simple assault-domestic violence at the Revel Casino on Feb. 15 after allegedly striking his then-fiancee Janay Palmer — the two have since married — and rendering her unconscious. Palmer was also arrested for allegedly striking Rice, but the simple assault-domestic violence charge against her was dismissed by the grand jury.
It remains to be seen how the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell will view Thursday’s news as Rice is still subject to league discipline.