App creates new controversy around drunk driving

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COLUMBIA - A new app has raised questions regarding traffic stops when alcohol is involved.  

The app, called "Duey Dialer," is intended to help protect an individual's rights during a DUI traffic stop. Critics have raised concerns that the app will be used to keep drunk drivers out of trouble. Co-founder and developer Daniel Delagdo said this is the opposite of the app's intended use. 

Delgado said the app is essentially a referral service, connecting those who need legal represention in a DUI case with local attorneys skilled in that area of law. 

Here's a breakdown of what the app does and does not do:

What the app DOES: 

  • Once opened, Duey Dialer automatically starts recording audio, which could then be used to supplement and cooraborate police recordings. It could also document the level of the driver's coherency.
  • When the app is closed, Duey Dialer sends the user's preprogrammed information, as well as the recorded audio, to one of ten local attorneys who have subscribed for the service. The attorneys are supposed to specialize in or at least have experience with DUI cases. Delgado said attorneys are chosen based on applications and their history and success with these type of cases.
  • The app only allows one use per 24 hour period. This means a person couldn't launch the app numerous times a day.
  • Once the app is used, any time that same user launches the app, the same attorney is contacted.  

What the app DOES NOT do:

  • Delgado said having the app is by no means a get-out-of-jail-free card. Duey Dialer sends the potential client's information and audio recording to a registered attorney, but it is the attorney's decision to take the case or not. If the audio recording suggests the the potential client is obviously intoxicated, the attorney has every right to decline the case. 

Bogdan Susan, a Columbia attorney, said drinking and driving is legal, so long as a driver isn't past what the state defines as "drunk."

It's these type of situations the app is intended for, Delgado said.