Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice stood stoically before a throng of media yesterday. He reportedly took a deep breath and began to speak about what he described as the biggest mistake of his life. Rice was arrested in February for allegedly assaulting his then fiancée. (The two have since married). The grainy images of Rice dragging an unconscious woman from an elevator in an Atlantic City hotel has sparked a firestorm of controversy.

The National Football League suspended Rice for two regular season games, and he has been fined more than $500,000. Critics have claimed that the NFL has been too lenient on Rice for his transgressions, and that the suspension is a tacit endorsement of domestic violence by the league. 

Rice has been accepted into a jail diversion program, which is a growing method of rehabilitating criminal offenders in lieu of jail time. Essentially, these programs include counseling, training and testing that help address the root problems (i.e. drug abuse, alcohol abuse) that lead to a particular crime. The choice of going into such a program depends on the individual facts of a case, so the argument of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be helpful in setting the stage for a diversion program to be an option.

In the meantime, Rice did not disclose any details about his status in the program, or when he is required to complete it. Upon successful completion, however, the criminal charges against him could be dropped.

If you have questions about whether your criminal charges merit acceptance into a diversion program, or if you have been ordered to participate in one, an attorney can help. 

Source: ABC News.com “Ray Rice publicly apologizes for assaulting wife,” August 1, 2014