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As lawyers, we encourage prospective and current clients to never speak to law enforcement without an attorney present. But we can't be everywhere at once. All too often, by the time a client comes to speak with us, the damage to their case has already been done. Whether it's speaking to police during a traffic stop or after an accident, many cases are won or lost in those first few minutes when there is no attorney present.
And for some drivers, the danger is more than legal. A traffic stop can feel like a life-or-death situation. Black Americans, in particular, face an increased risk of being shot and killed by police.
Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could have an attorney present during traffic stops and after car accidents? Someone who can protect the rights of drivers and get everyone home safely?
One innovative company is helping people everywhere have an attorney present when they need it most. TurnSignl is an app that connects drivers directly with an attorney during traffic stops and after accidents. All a driver needs to do is press a button or use voice command to be connected with a lawyer and begin recording video from their phone's front-facing camera.
Attorney partners for TurnSignl are trained in de-escalation techniques, allowing them to act as calm and objective go-betweens, de-escalating situations that could otherwise become tense or unnecessarily violent. And the recording is safely and securely stored in the cloud, ensuring it cannot be damaged or deleted.
Many lawyers and law firms have renewed commitments to diversity and inclusion, civil rights, and equality in recent years. There are many ways lawyers have stepped up to help: volunteering their time, taking on civil rights causes, and many more.
Still, most legal help occurs after an arrest or escalation. With TurnSignl, the idea is to prevent violence, civil rights violations, or any other kind of escalation before it happens. Having an attorney on the scene helps drivers avoid violating the law, protects basic civil rights, and reduces the chances of violence.
For Jazz Hampton, an attorney and CEO of TurnSignl, getting legal help to people most in need of it is an important part of the app's mission. As he puts it: “People of Color, marginalized individuals, and people with lower incomes all have worse outcomes compared to their counterparts in the criminal justice system. This is true from a car being stopped all the way through sentencing in court. There are several systematic reasons for this, but a piece of that machinery is lack of legal guidance and/or representation. That is why TurnSignl knows it is important to put a lawyer in the car from the very beginning for those who do not typically have access to justice.”
TurnSignl has already successfully debuted in several states, including Minnesota, California, Georgia, Illinois, and Florida, and aims to be nationwide by 2023.
If you are an attorney interested in partnering with TurnSignl, you can learn more on their website.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.