'Oh Crap App' Designed to Help Drivers Being Pulled Over

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - If you see red and blue lights in your rear-view mirror, perhaps the aptly named "Oh Crap App" can help.

It was designed by a law firm in West Des Moines to tell people what they can and can't do when being pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving.

"One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that they know their rights," said Bob Rehkemper, an attorney and co-creator of the smartphone app.

Rehkemper said the application lists basic legal rights, has a blood alcohol calculator, plus it can be used to contact an attorney, bail bondsman and emergency contact.

The app also has an emergency "Oh Crap" button for when a person is being stopped by law enforcement. Hit it, and users get legal advice like, "The less you say the better."

The button also activates your phone's voice recorder. It'll record any conversation you have with an officer and send the audio file to a secure server.

Rehkemper said that file could become valuable evidence if a user wants to fight any charges.

"That initial interaction is documented and is recorded so it's not a matter of what somebody remembers, or he said, she said," said Rehkemper.

After seeing the app for himself, Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner had some concerns.

The sheriff said during traffic stops, using the program could put approaching officers on edge seeing as they might mistake a phone for a weapon.

Sheriff Gardner also worried the app could be used for the wrong reasons.

"If it stops you from being intoxicated and driving, I'm certainly in favor of it. If it tells you how to be intoxicated and drive, and get away with it, there may be some concern there," Gardner said. "It's cute if nothing else."

Rehkemper estimated the app has been downloaded about 4,000 times in the year it's been out. He said creators don't want users drinking and driving, but hope they'll use the app to stay informed in difficult situations.

"People end up in positions, and their rights become very important to them, to their family members, to their children. That's the purpose of this app, to understand what they do, and what they don't have to do," Rehkemper said.

The application is available for both Apple and Google smartphones.
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