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Connecticut Company Creates LawyerUp App


U.S.federal statistics show that 16 to 20-year-olds are more likely to be arrested than involved in car accidents. A Connecticut-based company has created a new smartphone application that provides fast legal advice to people who find themselves in legal emergencies.

The moment when someone has been or is just about to be arrested, is critical, says Chris Miles, a former AIG employee who used to work in insurance and risk management.  "Not only is it time-sensitive, its also a interaction where mistakes matter. You really can’t make an error."

Miles is co-founder of LawyerUp,  an app that he describes as 'America’s first urgent legal dispatch service'. "The core of the idea is to allow one person through that one phone call that they’re legally entitled to, to reach out to whoever is best positioned to respond very quickly and provide all the benefits of legal counsel."

Customers are connected within 15 minutes to in-state attorneys.  Hartford criminal defense lawyer Damon Kirschbaum. "The criminal justice system is an adversarial system. And police officers are experienced and trained actors in the criminal justice system. Most people that are arrested or investigated are not. They don’t know the rules."

But Lt. Paul Vance of the CT State Police points out that people who are arrested are informed of their right to legal counsel. "We afford them the opportunity anyway to contact an attorney at any time when they’re involved in any type of arrest situation. So having an app makes it just that much more easier to insure their rights are protected."

The product is especially targeting college students who may be far from home, and their parents who may be able to afford the service.  Customers can subscribe to a monthly plan, or pay-in-a-pinch  - 100 dollars for the dispatch and up to 250 for the first hour of legal representation. 

Diane Orson is a special correspondent with Connecticut Public. She is a longtime reporter and contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories have been heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now. Diane spent seven years as CT Public Radio's local host for Morning Edition.

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