An app newly available in Montana has been billed as a "lawyer in your pocket" for drivers pulled over for drunk driving.
St. Louis-based Daniel Delgado is a co-founder of DueyDialer. He says that when pulled over, users can open the app and press a red button, which will send their contact information and a 30- minute recording of the incident via text and email to a participating attorney.
Delgado says being pulled over and arrested can be a highly emotional time and recording the process keeps everybody honest. If users have been driving while intoxicated, officers can subpoena the information. But the app can also be used as evidence by a defense attorney if someone was wrongly arrested. "It makes sure that [the incident] is being recorded," Delgado says. "It's being captured, it's being witnessed."
Since the official, launch in May, the app has attorneys providing counsel in all states except Alaska. Attorney Mark Flores of Van Cott, Bagley, Cornwall and McCarthy out of Salt Lake City is providing legal counsel in Montana, with other attorneys in the state being vetted by Delgado and his team.
The app is free to download, but attorneys have to pay a monthly fee after the first six months of being listed on the app. Users still have to pay regular attorney fees.
Public Information Officer Travis Welsh with the Missoula Police Department says officers have yet to see the app used in Missoula. Welsh says every citizen is entitled to legal counsel if arrested and says the app should not be used as a reason for someone to get behind the wheel intoxicated.
"The only thing I would hate to see is if there are portions of the population that think that having this app is going to be like a 'get out of jail free card' or prevent the officer from performing his duty and making a lawful arrest," Welsh says.
Delgado acknowledges the app has received mixed reviews. Some confusion has stemmed from whether he and his team are advocating for drunk driving, which he says is not the case. He says the app's creation was based on a need for legal representation and making the process as seamless as possible. "If you do run into a DUI situation—whether you are guilty or not—it's really about preserving your rights and that preserving those rights is an automated process for you," Delgado says.