A Philadelphia mother of two young sons is facing three years in prison after a trip to Atlantic City went terribly wrong.
Shaneen Allen, 27, had no criminal record when she was pulled over in Atlantic County last year for an unsafe lane change. What Allen thought would be a routine traffic stop ended with her arrest after she informed the officer that her .380 Bersa Thunder handgun was in her purse, alongside her Pennsylvania license-to-carry permit.
What Allen did not realize was that strict New Jersey gun laws do not recognize any other state’s license-to-carry permits. As a result, Allen was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of hollow-point bullets.
The case, which goes to trial this October, has gotten national attention due to the harsh sentence Allen faces. In New Jersey, illegal possession of a handgun is a second degree felony that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison. The best option Allen was presented with at this month’s pre-trial hearing was a five-year plea bargain, with no parole for three-and-a-half years. Allen turned down the plea, electing to go to jury trial.
The New Jersey State Police website provides information about transporting a firearm into or through the state. If you are driving into New Jersey and you plan to bring your handgun or rifle, it must be unloaded and carried in a closed case or securely tied package. Additionally, it cannot be directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle. If you do not have a trunk, or an area separate from the passenger compartment, the unloaded gun and ammunition must be stored in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.
John W. Tumelty has over 30 years of experience defending the rights of NJ residents facing criminal charges. If you or someone you love has gotten into legal trouble, contact the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty today.