Shaneen Allen is a Philadelphia single mom, a law-abiding citizen and legally licensed in her hometown to carry a weapon. But now she’s facing at least three years in prison—and possibly more, New Jersey’s My9 reports.
Things went awry for the mother of two last month when she traveled to New Jersey, where her license isn’t recognized. She was stopped by police on a traffic offense and readily volunteered to the officer that she had her gun and her permit.
That is how Allen, who got licensed to protect her family, ended up with a mandatory three-year minimum sentence.
“One of my family members, he thought it was appropriate for me to get one because I’m a single mother and I have two children and I work two jobs and I work late, and getting up at that time of night, I got robbed twice last year … he felt the need for me to get my license to protect me and my kids,” Allen told My9 after the incident.
Allen said that she did not realize that her license would not apply in the Garden State.
But the case did not end there. Now My9 is reporting that the mother could end up forfeiting 11 years of her life.
“New Jersey’s gun law is as unforgiving as a prosecutor or judge wants to make it. Either of those two, the judge or the prosecutor could have taken steps to relieve Shaneen from this situation, but it didn’t happen,” Allen’s lawyer, Evan Nappen, told the news site. Her maximum sentence could very well end up being 11 years: 10 for having the gun and one-and-a-half for the bullets.
It seems an incredible outcome for a woman who’s never had any run-ins with the law before.
“Shaneen Allen has no criminal background at all. She has no firearm disqualifiers at all. Listen, if she did, she wouldn’t have gotten a license to carry from the city of Philadelphia,” Nappen added.
Moreover, not only did the judge not dismiss what most saw as an open-and-shut case, but the prosecution is taking no steps to permit a pretrial intervention that could allow the single mother to escape prison.
The best option Allen was given? A five-year plea bargain, with no parole for three-and-a-half years, according to My9.
Read more at My9.