Why wasn’t Ray Rice jailed for domestic violence?
It is all over the news. Rutgers alumni and Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has been dropped from his team and suspended indefinitely from the NFL. The reason? Domestic violence. Video footage of an Atlantic City casino elevator vividly displays Rice punching his then fiancée who is now his wife. The woman was hit with such force that she fell to the floor, rendered unconscious. Although a grand jury indicted Rice on felony charges, the football player did not receive jail time for his actions.
Instead, he was accepted into pre-trial intervention (PTI). How did this happen? Was Rice offered preferential treatment? Who exactly is eligible for PTI?
The New Jersey Courts instituted the PTI program as an alternative to the traditional manner of prosecution. Rice’s case is no exception. PTI is generally available to first-time offenders for any indictable offense. Defendants must apply for entry into the program within 28 days of indictment. Pre-trial intervention is designed to “solve personal problems which tend to result from the conditions that appear to cause crime.” Although domestic violence is a crime, there is the possibility that rehabilitation can stop it from occurring another time.
Often, community service or counseling is part of pre-trial intervention. There may be other components to individual PTI programs, including drug testing. Each person accepted into the program is required to undergo supervision from one to three years. Rice is obligated to undergo extensive counseling as a condition of his PTI. If he fails to comply, his case will be referred to a criminal judge. Rice, like any other defendant, could then be looking at jail time.
The advantage of PTI is that it is a true second chance. If the program is completed successfully, Rice will not have a criminal charge on his record. For many, a criminal record could preclude them from finding suitable housing or a good job. In Rice’s case, the Ravens let the video speak for itself in determining his employment with the team. Certainly, his national exposure was an additional punishment. It is not unusual that a professional football player got off without jail time. However, the average citizen is not subject to the additional penalties Rice suffered as a result of his actions.
Pre-trial intervention is not a consideration for minor crimes, or for those with past criminal convictions. It is intended for crimes committed by adults in New Jersey, with a particular emphasis on New Jersey residents. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a crime, it is important to seek legal representation. The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone are available to assist you in your time of need. We can help you apply for PTI as an alternative to a criminal record. Please contact us for further information.