Would Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice Face Similar Criminal Charges in Minnesota?
NFL players have been in the news lately for their behavior off the field. Two of the most prominent cases involve criminal charges against Adrian Peterson in Texas and Ray Rice in New Jersey. Criminal laws vary by state, so what would Mr. Peterson and Mr. Rice be facing if they were being prosecuted in Minnesota?
Mr. Peterson was recently indicted in Montgomery County, Texas for Injury to a Child. Under Texas Penal Code § 22.04, Mr. Peterson is facing either a First or Second Degree Felony, based on whether the alleged conduct was committed intentionally or knowingly, and in light of the degree of bodily injury suffered by the alleged victim. In Texas, a Second Degree Felony carries 2-20 years imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine, while a First Degree Felony carries 5-99 years imprisonment (or life) and up to a $10,000 fine. Mr. Peterson is scheduled to make his first court appearance Wednesday.
In Minnesota, Mr. Peterson would most likely be charged for Malicious Punishment of a Child under Minn. Stat. § 609.377, Subd. 1, based on the allegations. He would be facing either a Gross Misdemeanor or a Felony, based on whether the alleged punishment resulted in “substantial bodily harm” or not. “Substantial bodily harm” is defined as “bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily member.” If “substantial bodily harm” was found, he could be facing a Felony sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment, and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
In March 2014, Mr. Rice was indicted by a grand jury in Atlantic County, New Jersey of Third Degree Aggravated Assault under NJ Stat. § 2C:12-1(b). An offense rises to this level if there was “significant” bodily injury, which means a temporary loss of the function of a body part or the temporary loss of one of the five senses. This charge carries a potential sentence of 3-5 years imprisonment and a fine up to $15,000. In May 2014, Mr. Rice was accepted into a pre-trial intervention program by the county attorney’s office. If he completes counseling and avoids any new charges for one year, he will avoid jail, the charges will be dismissed, and his arrest record will be expunged.
In Minnesota, Mr. Rice would most likely be facing charges of Misdemeanor Domestic Assault as a first-time offender under Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, Subd. 1. This charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Mr. Rice may also face a charge of Third Degree Assault under Minn. Stat. § 609.223, Subd. 1, if “substantial bodily harm” were found. This charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine.