The difficult offseason for Ray Rice looks to get increasingly more difficult. A New Jersey grand jury has indicted the young Ravens running back today.
Ravens RB Ray Rice was indicted today on one count of aggravated assault. Carries a 3-5 year prison term.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 27, 2014
New Jersey law states that Rice could qualify for third degree aggravated assault. If convicted, he would face a prison sentence minimum of 3 years with a maximum of 5 and a fine of up to $150,000. Given that this is Rice's first run in with the law and his fiancee has decided to not press charges, it seems unlikely that he is convicted and instead enters a plea bargain to a lesser charge.
Regardless of if Rice is convicted of a crime, the NFL and commissioner Rodger Goodell could still levy a fine or suspension on the young running back. Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger received a six game suspension after allegations of sexual assault that was later dropped down to 4 due to good behavior, so Rice isn't completely out of the woods yet.
Rice had a down year, rushing for 660 yards on 214 carries with only 4 touchdowns. His 3.1 yards per carry average that ranked him at the bottom of the all running backs with a minimum of 5 carries per game. The dead money on his contract this year prohibits him from getting cut from the Ravens as they would carry over $14.25 million in dead money.
Below is the press release from the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office:
MAYS LANDING – A Maryland man was indicted today for the physical assault of a woman in an Atlantic City casino/hotel elevator, Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain announced today.
On February 15, 2014, at 2:52 a.m., Atlantic City Police responded to the Revel Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City to investigate an altercation between Raymell M. Rice, 27, of the 2400 block of Tufton Spring Lane, Reistertown, MD, and Janay Palmer, 26, of the same address.
Atlantic City Police charged both Rice and Palmer with simple assault, a disorderly persons offense. Both were released on summons complaints. The case was referred to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
This afternoon an Atlantic County Grand Jury indicted Raymell M. Rice for one (1) count of aggravated assault, for attempting to cause significant bodily injury, and/or purposely or knowing causing such injury, and/or recklessly causing such injury under extreme indifference to the value of human life.
Aggravated Assault is a 3rd degree crime, and carries a potential penalty of 3-5 years imprisonment.
The simple assault complaint against Janay Palmer was administratively dismissed.
The Ravens had this to say of the news:
This is part of the due process for Ray. We know there is more to Ray Rice than this one incident.