*Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and applied for a pretrial intervention program Thursday morning in Mays Landing, N.J., reports ESPN.com.
The pretrial intervention program is a diversionary program, which permits certain defendants (particularly first-time ones) to avoid formal prosecution.
If Rice is not approved for the program, his next court date is scheduled for May 29. Prosecutors have offered a plea agreement in which Rice would receive probation with no jail time and undergo anger management counseling.
Rice was arrested and charged with simple assault-domestic violence on Feb. 15 after a physical altercation with his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer, at the Revel Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J.
He was indicted by a grand jury in late March for allegedly striking Palmer. He married Palmer one day later. She was seated behind Rice in the courtroom Thursday.
Even if Rice avoids being convicted, he will likely receive punishment from the NFL, whether it’s a fine or suspension, under the league’s personal conduct policy.
On Wednesday, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said the uncertainty surrounding Rice’s future won’t affect the team’s draft plans.
“We’ll deal with Ray when that time comes,” Newsome said at the Ravens’ pre-draft news conference, adding that the team was talking about adding one or two running backs even before Rice’s incident.