Does the Interlock Law Look Back and Increase the Punishment Recidurst Offenders Received for Previous DUI Convictions ?
In Alexander v. Department of Transportation, 583 Pa. 592, 601, 880 A.2d 552, 557 (2005), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court addressed the "substantive issue" of whether, under the former version of the Vehicle Code, "a driver whose previous DUI convictions predate the effective date of the Interlock Law, but whose latest DUI occurred after the effective date, may, as a consequence of the latest conviction, be subject to the recidivist provisions of the Interlock Law, or whether the imposition of the interlock requirement in such an instance constitutes an impermissibly retroactive application of the statute...."
In disposing of this issue, the Supreme Court stated the following, in pertinent part:
The General Assembly did not expressly state that the Interlock Law is to be applied retroactively.
Thus, an ignition interlock requirement could not be imposed as a licensing restriction for a DUI conviction which occurred before the effective date of the Interlock Law--such as, for example, appellee's second DUI conviction in 1994.
But that is not the issue posed in this appeal.
The Department's interlock notification in this case was occasioned by appellee's third DUI conviction, which arose after enactment of the Interlock Law.... It is not the two previous DUI convictions that have exposed appellee to the interlock requirement; it is his third conviction, occurring after passage of the Law, which brings him within its purview.
The statute does not reach into the past and increase the punishment, or the civil consequences, of concluded DUI convictions.
Rather, it takes the recidivist DUI defendant as it finds him after the post-Interlock Law DUI conviction....
There is no doubt that the Interlock Law imposes a licensing consequence for recidivist DUI offenders that is greater than the licensing consequence such recidivist offenders faced prior to the enactment of the statute.
However, the statute does not look back and enhance the punishment recidivist DUI offenders received for their prior DUI convictions.
Instead, the enhanced consequence applies solely with respect to those DUI convictions occurring after the effective date of the law....Alexander, Id. at 605-606, 880 A.2d at 559-560.
See also Commonwealth v. McCoy, 2006 PA Super 33, 895 A.2d 18, 33-34 (Pa. Super. 2006) wherein the Superior Court stated the following, in pertinent part:
In addition, appellant contends that there is an ex post facto violation since, under 3806(b), DUI offenses within the last ten years are now considered in the determination of whether the individual has prior offenses, whereas under the prior law, the "look back" period was only seven years.
Appellant had a DUI in June of 1995.
Under the former law, this 1995 DUI would not have been considered a prior offense.
He maintains the new ten year "look back" improperly increased his penalties for past acts.
We reject this contention.
First, there is a presumption that "no statute shall be construed to be retroactive unless clearly and manifestly so intended by the General Assembly." 1 Pa.C.S. 1926.
Here, the General Assembly did not "clearly and manifestly" intend the DUI law to be retroactive.
For instance, the ten year "look back" would not apply to DUI convictions which occurred before February 1, 2004.
In any event, this principle "becomes pertinent only after it has been determined that a proposed operation of a statute would indeed be retrospective.
In this regard, our courts have held that a statute does not operate retrospectively merely because some of the facts or conditions upon which its application depends came into existence prior to its enactment." Alexander , 583 Pa. at 604, 880 A.2d at 559.
The statute does not reach into the past and increase punishment for concluded DUI convictions.
The statute, rather, considers "facts or conditions" which came into existence prior to its enactment, i.e. prior DUI convictions, and effects only the punishment for a new conviction under the newly enacted DUI law.