The Oh Crap App helps educate users about their rights and what to do if they find themselves in trouble.
It had become a common occurrence for Bob Rehkemper and his partners at Gourley, Rehkemper and Lindholm law firm in Des Moines. He’d be at a bar with friends or colleagues and the topic would invariably shift to his profession as a criminal defense attorney specializing in DUI and OWI. Immediately, everyone wanted to know what to do if they were pulled over by law enforcement.
So Rehkemper and his partners got creative.
At first, they created the Iowa Drivers’ Rights Card, a 8.5-by-11-inch sheet of paper outlining a driver’s legal rights in the state of Iowa. When the paper proved too detailed and cumbersome, they switched to a smaller, wallet-sized card and key tag outlining the most important legal points.
Eventually, that turned into the Oh Crap App!, an iOS and Android mobile app that not only educates drivers on their rights but also helps drivers if they ever do have that “oh crap” moment.
After hitting the “oh crap” button on the app, the user is taken to a screen that gives them three easy steps to follow if they’re stopped by an officer. The app also gives them the option to begin recording the exchange as well as contact an attorney in their area.
“When you hit the ‘oh crap’ button it activates, or at least gives you the chance to activate, the voice recorder,” Rehkemper (right) told SPN. “A number of times in our practice we saw cases where that intial contact with law enforcement wasn’t captured.
“Whether it’s in someone’s apartment, walking down the street or they get pulled over, we wanted to give people that ability to document that encounter.”
The app, which recently launched nationally, has more than 70,000 downloads across the country, and has been picked up by a number of major media outlets. Rehkemper says that to his knowledge the Oh Crap App is the only app of its kind that geolocates to find the specific driver rights in the current state.
On a more grassroots level, he and his partners have made an effort to reach out to the people who might be their users.
“It’s fun for us because we get to go into the areas where people are who want to know this information, or who will maybe need it later, and share this with them,” he said.
You might have spotted an Oh Crap App coaster at a local Des Moines bar—one side has a QR code to download the app while the other reads “The other side of this coaster might save your…” followed by a photo of a donkey. Rehkemper says the next marketing piece are vehicle stickers for drivers in states where notice to record law enforcement is required.
“We want to not just have the information available to people, but have someone they can call right away if they need help,” Rehkemper said.
While the app is free to users, Rehkemper and his partners have licensed the platform to attorneys around the country who want to be connected to the Oh Crap App’s “contact attorney” button.
Credits: Images courtesy of Rehkemper.