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Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found “not guilty” of all charges.


Shaneen Allen Pardoned; Case Brings NJ’s Strict Gun Laws into Focus

It was a high-profile case that forced many to rethink the enforcement of NJ’s strict gun laws. In 2014, a 27-year-old South Philadelphia mother, Shaneen Allen, was arrested and faced gun charges in Atlantic County, NJ, after she was stopped and told the police officer she was carrying a gun. The gun was licensed in her home state of Pennsylvania, but New Jersey didn’t recognize the permit. For a time, it looked as though Allen was going to prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Allen was eventually allowed to enter Pre-Trial Intervention and avoided jail time.

Now, her case which caused a widespread backlash, resulted in a gubernatorial pardon this past week.

Cases like this remind us all just how important effective representation is when you’re facing a weapons charge. Guns continue to be a highly debated and politicized issue in New Jersey. Prosecutors are showing less and less tolerance for infractions. New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. If convicted, Allen could have faced a maximum of 42 months in prison even though she was legally licensed across state lines.

The fact that they were even considering throwing the book at this women, who at no point tried to hide anything, paints a clear picture of the zero-tolerance climate in this state. If you find yourself facing a weapons charge, do yourself a favor and contact a qualified attorney immediately. These charges carry more weight than you may realize and you need to make sure you’re getting sound legal guidance. It took Allen months to get the justice she deserved and the only thing she was guilty of was not knowing NJ’s tough gun laws.

These charges are more serious than you know. Experienced and knowledgeable attorney John W. Tumelty will help fight your weapons charge and minimize legal damage. He has spent years helping clients navigate New Jersey’s gun laws and making sure they’re treated fairly. Contact him today for a free consultation.

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South Jersey criminal defense lawyer John W. Tumelty is conveniently located in Atlantic City, NJ. He serves clients in Atlantic, Ocean, Gloucester and Cape May counties and the Jersey Shore, including: Absecon, Atlantic City, Avalon, Brigantine, Buena, Cape May, Egg Harbor City, Egg Harbor Township, Estell Manor, Folsom, Galloway Township, Hamilton Township, Hammonton, Linwood, Longport, Margate, Mullica Township, Northfield, Pleasantville, Port Republic, Somers Point, Ventnor,  and Waymouth.