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Ravens' Rice gets initial OK for court program

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Rice To Enter Diversion Program

MAYS LANDING, N.J. (AP) -- Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has received initial approval to enter a court program that could result in dismissal of an assault charge against him in New Jersey.

The decision announced Tuesday relates to an aggravated assault charge Rice faces following a Feb. 15 incident with his then-girlfriend in an Atlantic City casino elevator. The couple married a day after Rice was indicted.

Atlantic County acting prosecutor Jim McClain said the decision was made after his office "considered all relevant information."

The pretrial intervention program allows for charges to be dismissed against first-time offenders who participate in it and meet certain conditions. A judge must give final approval before Rice can enter the program.

If convicted of the charge, Rice could face three to five years in prison.

Originally, Rice and his then-girlfriend, Janay Palmer, were each charged with simple assault after authorities said he assaulted her at the Revel Casino. But the Atlantic County prosecutor's office reviewed the case and dropped the charge against Palmer.

A grand jury lodged the more serious charge of aggravated assault against Rice in March. He had entered a not guilty plea during a court hearing on May 1, the day he filed his application for the pretrial intervention program.

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