Michigan Court of Appeals Uphold's "Heidi's Law"

Before January 3, 2007, there was a ten year time limit on how far back a prosecutor could go to charge an habitual OUIL offense. The theory was that an OUIL committed more than ten years ago was not reflective of a person’s current status. To use a Britishism, the conviction had been “spent.” Heidi’s law changed this in Michigan.

The law amended to MCL 257.265 to increase the penalty for persons convicted of driving under the influence if the person has been convicted of the offense 3 or more times regardless of the age of the prior conviction. There have been numerous cases challenging this law around the state with mixed results.

In
People v Perkins, Court of Appeals No. 281957, the Court of Appeals voted to uphold this law. The Isabella County Circuit Court had found that this was an ex post facto violation. Ex post facto laws are ones that: (1) attach legal consequences to acts before their effective date, and (2) they work to the disadvantage of the defendant.”

The Court of Appeals panel in
Perkins disagreed holding that even though Heidi's Law works to defendants' disadvantage, the "amendment did not attach legal consequences to their prior offenses, which occurred before the amendment's effective date. Rather, the amendment made the consequences of their current offenses, which occurred after January 3, 2007, more severe based on defendants' prior convictions."

This is probably not the law last we’ve heard of this argument.