DUI Checkpoint Apps Called into Question

Smartphones have given us access to a considerable amount of information. Whether we are checking the weather, surfing the internet or accessing social media sites, there is an app available for nearly anything. With technology continuing to advance daily, designers are constantly striving to create the next must-have app.

One type of app on the market informs drivers of potential traffic issues in their location. Drivers receive alerts regarding red-light cameras, speed traps and, most concerning to law enforcement officials, DUI sobriety checkpoints. There are several different apps available that disclose this information, including Phantom Alert, Trapster and iRadar.

Providers such as Research In Motion, Google and Apple all recently received letters from U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, Tom Udall and Harry Reid asking that they remove the apps. Legislators feel the apps allow drunk drivers to avoid detection by law enforcement officers. The negative publicity brought by the letters has led many to question the public safety benefits that the apps provide.

While critics contend that the apps help drivers avoid detection by law enforcement, app developers believe that this does not take the entire picture into account. For instance, people may use the apps to avoid long traffic backups caused by sobriety checkpoints or accidents in the area. They may simply be looking to not deal with the inconvenience, and these apps would allow them to plan an alternate route.

Despite the benefits that they give motorists, one provider has removed the apps from its store after the public outcry. Research In Motion, makers of Blackberry phones, was the first to make the apps unavailable. Other providers have said that the apps do not violate their policies and will still be available to the public.

Law enforcement will still be aggressively tracking drunk drivers, whether it is by using sobriety checkpoints or by random traffic stops. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area. Prosecutors take these charges very seriously, and the penalties that come along with a conviction keep getting more severe. Preparing a strong defense can help you preserve the options available to you.