Legal community reacts to DWI smartphone app

The app records conversation with police

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A News 4 report Monday detailed how a free smartphone app connects users with a lawyer in their time of need.

Specifically, the DueyDialer app is designed to offer legal assistance if you’re pulled over by police who suspect you’re driving drunk.

“When you launch that app you’re not busy looking for an attorney. We already have an attorney who’s been vetted. And that attorney is already on the network. And they’re going to get that information in real-time,” said Daniel Delgado, the app’s co-creator.

With one push of a button on your phone — the app, which is free for users who download it, collects your contact information and records the conversation with police.

“And that information is then provided in real-time to the attorney that’s part of the service,” Delgado said. “It’s like having an attorney in your pocket.”

But Buffalo area attorney Mike Taheri, who does a lot of legal work involving alcohol related offenses, has some concerns about the app.

“I’m very reluctant to start creating recordings,” said Taheri, a partner in the Taheri and Todoro Law Office in Williamsville.

He said the recording could become problematic if a person under the influence says something that they shouldn’t be saying, or slurs words.

“That’s not an attorney-client privileged communication. So now the district attorney, if he or she learns of that recording, can subpoena that. Bring it to court. And that evidence could be introduced against the client,” Taheri explained.

Daniel Delgado said most police departments already have the ability to record, and that the DueyDialer simply corroborates what’s being said during the stop.

“It’s like insurance. If you do wind up needing it for whatever reason, the idea here is that we’re making sure that you have the opportunity to preserve your rights,” he said.

But Taheri argues that since most encounters with police are not confrontational — why push it.

“You don’t want to escalate and create problems. And I don’t see, so far , how this is being helpful.”

The app, which is paid for by attorneys who sign up and join the network, is not yet available in New York State.

Delgado said the app is merely providing a service, and does not encourage anyone to drink and drive.

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