Shaneen Allen, the South Philadelphia mother arrested for carrying a legally registered handgun from another state into New Jersey, must give up her .380-caliber Bersa Thunder and complete 25 hours of community service as part of her admission into a pre-trial intervention program, her attorney said Thursday.
But the losses, attorney Evan Nappen said, are small compared with Allen's victory Wednesday, when the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office announced that it was reversing its decision to ban her from the intervention program.
Allen will now be able to avoid jail time, as opposed to facing up to five years in prison.
"She made an honest mistake," Nappen said Thursday.
Allen, who could not be reached for comment, was arrested in October 2013 after voluntarily telling a state trooper that her purse contained a handgun. She said she did not know that she could not carry the gun, registered in Pennsylvania, into New Jersey.
On Wednesday, acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman issued a clarification to Atlantic County Prosecutor James P. McClain's office on cases such as Allen's. Hoffman said that in most of them, "imprisonment is neither necessary nor appropriate to serve the interests of justice and protect public safety."
McClain's initial decision to deny Allen from pre-trial intervention drew ire after Ray Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens player, was admitted into the program after knocking out his wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator this year.
Nappen acknowledged that the outrage over Rice's case affected Allen's admission into the program.
"It had to affect it," he said. "To what degree, I don't know."
But he said people rightfully questioned how someone like Allen could not get into the program when Rice could.
"It was frustrating because it is clearly the proper and appropriate solution and resolution" for Allen, Nappen said.
Allen will participate in the program for one year. If she successfully completes it, the charges will be dismissed, though she will still have to appeal to Superior Court in Atlantic County to have her record expunged.