A pair of attorneys from central Iowa are getting a lot of attention for creating a phone app that gives motorists advice in the event they’re pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. Bob Rehkemper and Matt Lindholm, both of West Des Moines, are the minds behind the “Oh Crap App!” and Rehkemper says it includes an “emergency button” for the driver to click if they’re stopped by a cop. “First of all, it activates the phone’s voice recorder, so that any communication with law enforcement is documented and saved,” Rehkemper says.
The “Oh Crap!” button also automatically sends an email to a chosen friend or family member, an attorney, and a bail bondsman. Rehkemper estimates that 95-percent of people are unaware of their rights, or what they should or shouldn’t do, when stopped by police. “A lot of people have misconceptions…and don’t have a very good grasp on those rights,” Rehkemper says.
The app has another function, which Rehkemper says is designed to educate people about their basic DUI rights. He says the first thing a motorist should do is “be polite and respectful” with the law officer. “Secondarily, most people don’t know that the field sobriety test — the eye test, the walk and turn, the one leg stand — they don’t have to submit to those,” Rehkemper says. “There is no requirement under the law that they do those. They do have the option of saying, ‘no thank you.'”
As of last week, more than 2,500 people had downloaded the free app. It also includes a blood-alcohol content (BAC) “calculator” — allowing an individual to determine if they might be over the legal limit to drive. Rehkemper says he and Lindholm do not condone drinking and driving. “It gets looked at by some people as, ‘oh, you’re condoning and you’re helping it happen,’ but when you look at the actual app and the information it provides, it’s primarily designed to educate the public on their legal rights, to clear up any ambiguity on what they do have to do and what they don’t have to do. That helps law enforcement and that also helps the individual facing that situation,” Rehkemper says.
The app is available for both iPhones and Android devices.