Dover Lawyer Offering Free Counsel For Marijuana Charges - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Dover Lawyer Offering Free Counsel For Marijuana Charges

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DOVER, Del. - While states across the region decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, in Delaware offenders still face criminal charges.

One local lawyer has found a way *he* hopes will change the law, and help people along the way.

Tom Donovan is providing free legal services to anyone charged with simple marijuana possession in Delaware.

This comes down to what he says is as an unfair system of arrest and incarceration, relating to simple possession of marijuana, which behind alcohol and tobacco, is the third most popular drug in the country.

That's based on a 2010 study from the American Civil Liberties Union.  The reports shows arrests for simple possession is about equal for blacks and whites in Delaware, despite blacks making up less than a quarter of the state's population.

Currently, a person charged with misdemeanor possession faces up to 6 months in prison, up to $1,150 in fines, and loss of driver's license.  This prompted Donovan to start offering free legal services.

"I'm willing to do it for free' because the law needs to change, and the only way it's going to change is if people stand up and let their voice be heard," says Donovan, "the people who are being affected by this the most, are the ones receiving the least amount of help."

Donovan says he plans to offer free legal counsel until weed prohibition ends in Delaware.      

47 ABC asked Tom Donovan if there are any cases he won't take, and he said, as long as it's misdemeanor simple possession, he'll do the work pro-bono, regardless of the person's criminal

We also spoke to the Dover Chapter of the NAACP about this and they say it's definitely a needed service in that community.

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