Need a place to go fishing with your kids? There’s an app for that. Want to know who sings that song you heard playing in the mall? There’s an app for that. Looking for an interesting new pancake recipe? Believe it or not, there’s an app for that too. But for all of the apps available nowadays, which seem to include just about every conceivable possibility, it was the one that helps alleged drunk drivers find DUI attorneys that surprised us most.
The “DueyDialer” is a free smartphone app that claims to put users in direct and immediate contact with the closest DUI attorney available at the time that they are pulled over. According to their website, the app works “at the moment you need it. When you’ve been stopped for DUI / DWI”. And what exactly does it do? “Connect you and collect the information you and your attorney need to protect your rights.”
At the touch of a button, the app begins making a recording, so that your entire interaction with the police is recorded. It can also send the recording to an attorney so that the attorney knows exactly who said what, and to whom. It also uses GPS coordinates to triangulate your location at the time of the traffic stop, and then put you in contact with the closest DUI attorney or law firm available.
According to Daniel Delgado, the developer of the DueyDialer, the process is entirely automated. In fact, if you do not turn off the app within 45 minutes of activating the app, the GPS coordinates will be sent to a nearby attorney, along with a recording of the police interaction. The app essentially assumes that, if 45 minutes pass without you shutting it off, that you no longer have access to the device, and it sends the information automatically for you.
As attorneys who offer excellent defense in drunk driving cases, we must admit to having mixed feelings about this app. While it’s a nice idea to have a way to record the entire dialogue and interaction that took place between an officer and a client, there are certain drawbacks to this. One would be the fact that some officers may not appreciate being recorded, and it may negatively influence their opinion of the scenario, which could make the case more difficult.
In addition, there is the fact that this app removes a client’s ability to choose their own legal representation. While “close by” or “conveniently located” certainly have their merits, we would rather that our clients came to us because we are extremely good at what we do. Going with the “well, this was the closest law firm” approach may end up costing a person more in the long run, when the closest turns out to be not the best.
This app is currently only available for Android phones, and only to residents of Michigan and five other states. According to the DueyDialer’s webpage, they are planning to expand their coverage to include all 50 states across the U.S.