COLUMBIA, SC (WLTX)- It’s called Duey Dialer, and it’s here in the Midlands.
The app is available for free download in eight states, including South Carolina. But it’s stirring up controversy because of its target audience: drunk drivers.
You download the app, and if you’re ever pulled over for a DUI, you press the button and it instantly records your conversation with law enforcement. It then sends the recording and your location to an attorney in your area.
Columbia Attorney Overture Walker is not a fan.
“It jumped out to be as a bit superfluous or a bit unnecessary,” he said, “when you consider that we already have laws on the books in South Carolina that actually require all traffic stops, particularly traffic stops involving DUIs, to be recorded.”
Sergeant Brian Dowdy with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department says that officers are already on high alert when they pull someone over, so people should be aware of that before they reach for their phones.
“If someone reaches for something quickly were concerned because they could be reaching for a weapon,” he said. “Weapons can be hidden anywhere now. There’s actually guns disguised as phones.”
In a statement Thursday, Duey dialer spokesperson Nate Leding said: “People in the Midlands will really benefit from the Duey Dialer app. It’s like insurance. Nobody expects to get pulled over by law enforcement, but if that happens, your rights will be protected. It’s like having an attorney in your pocket.”
Local attorneys need to register with the app in order to be notified.
But Walker says he won’t be one of them.
“I think the app at least originally seems to be superfluous, maybe even disingenuous” he said. “But I think the law we currently have on the books, I believe it works, and it works very well.”
And while he doesn’t think the app makes much sense, he does stress that recordings play an important role in DUI arrests.
“When you have a DUI case so much of it is subjective,” he said. “It’s based on what the officer perceives. An officer often times share his or her observations with the jury in an effort to procure a conviction. So you have a defendant who is basically stuck with the officer’s observations without anything to really counter or counteract what the officer says in court.”
And Sergeant Dowdy says even though there’s an app for that, he hopes people always drive sober.
“We prefer they use their phones before they get in the car and call a safe ride home,” he said. “That’s what we want to see. I’d rather them do that then go out and get hurt or get pulled over and have to use that app.”