New iPhone App May Help Prosecutors Sentence Florida DUI Offenders

traffic.jpgAmerica, land of the free. But, not free from corporate Big Brother. A new iPhone app threatens to turn the free citizens of Orlando into Big Brother snitches, and it’s called DriveMeCrazy. This app allows anyone to report a motorist’s poor driving, and as a consequence the driver will receive a virtual “ticket”. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? However, what happens to someone accused of DUI–and, also–has racked up years worth of ‘virtual tickets’ for drunk driving behavior? This new app could turn DUI sentencings into a nightmare.

The DriveMeCrazy app issues a ‘virtual ticket’ to your tag number every time another driver rats you out. This virtual ticket has detailed information regarding the date, time and location of the offense–all of which is sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and insurance companies!

The app encourages reporting drunk drivers. I know this sounds like harmless Good Samaritan stuff, right? Well, imagine a sentencing on a second time DUI offense (outside of 5 years, no jail), and the prosecutor shows up with a two year history of virtual drunk driving tickets! Ouch. Still getting no jail here?

The potential for law enforcement and prosecutor abuse here is substantial, as the only information given to the database is a tag number. The DriveMeCrazy app has voice recognition software whereby someone can anonymously report your ‘tag number’, thus convicting you of all sorts of bad driving behavior. That means, for example, that when my 18 year old daughter drives my car, her virtual tickets go on my ‘virtual’ driving record. I’m not alone here, many families share their vehicles from time to time with their children, relatives, and friends. It appears that this new system will not take that into account. If the vehicle tag is registered to you, you are getting all the virtual tickets.

We know this information is going to go to the DMV. But the real question here is, how long before this driver info gets into the hands of prosecutors? A public records request via the Sunshine Laws here in Florida that allow for the release of information, so it shouldn’t take long to obtain a public records request of the information submitted to the DMV. Worse yet, what if the police have access to the database and stop cars simply based upon an anonymous computer program entry? Looks like we Orlando criminal defense attorneys can look forward to filing more Motions to Suppress in the future….