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Madison County DUI fatality results in guilty plea

On October 22, 2010, Brittney Rhea Butler was driving on Route 143 in Madison County, Illinois. The motor vehicle she was operating slammed into the rear of a vehicle that was stopped on the highway waiting to make a left turn.

In Butler’s 1985 Cadillac was a 35 year-old passenger, Jeffrey L. Davis of Edwardsville, Illiinois. While Butler suffered only minor injuries, Davis died.

There were no skid marks; police estimated the Butler vehicle was traveling 80 MPH. Butler’s blood alcohol level was .162. She was charged with aggravated Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

The legal limit for an Illinois DUI is .08. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2 The possible penalties and driver’s license sanctions for a first time DUI are up to 364 days in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.00 and a one year driver’s license revocation. 625 ILCS 5/11-501; 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-55; 625 ILCS 5/6-208(b)(1)

Illinois has a DUI disposition known as court supervision. If a person is eligible for court supervision and if the judge sees fit to grant supervision, jail time cannot be imposed. In addition, since supervision is not a conviction, there will not be a driver’s license revocation. 730 ILCS 5/5-6-1. (d)

However, Butler was charged with aggravated DUI and supervision was not an option. The DUI is considered “aggravated” because of the fatality. 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(1)(F)

As a result of the aggravated nature of the offense, not only was supervision not an option, but since aggravated DUI is a felony, Butler faced from 3 to 14 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections (prison). Butler agreed to plead guilty.

In exchange for her guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to seek no more than 10 years in prison. The final sentence will be up to the judge.

In the opinion of this DUI lawyer, Butler is likely to receive 10 years. In determining an appropriate sentence, the judge is entitled to look at Butler’s criminal past.

At the time Butler committed this offense, she was on probation for two felony drug convictions from only year earlier. She also had a 2007 DUI arrest that was pled down to reckless driving.


Because of the DUI conviction, Butler’s driver’s license will be revoked. Once she is released from prison, Butler may wish to seek restoration of her driving privileges. In order to request that relief, she must petition the Illinois Secretary of State for a hearing.

In connection with that hearing, Butler will be required to obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation from a licensed evaluator. She must also follow the recommendations of the evaluator for alcohol and drug treatment. 92 Illinois Administrative Code §1001.440
Due to Butler’s BAC reading, she will, at a minimum, be required to complete a 10 hour driver risk education course and 12 hours of alcohol counseling. As a result of her prior drug convictions, additional classes and attendance at Alcohol Anonymous may be appropriate but that will be up to the evaluator to determine.

Due to the fact Butler was convicted of aggravated DUI causing a fatality, she is not eligible to request a driver’s license hearing until she has been out of prison for at least two years. 625 ILCS 5/6-205(c); 6-206(c)3; 6-208(b)1 She must submit, with her petition for driving relief, either a copy of the Order of the circuit court that states the sentence received upon conviction, certified by the Clerk of the Court, or a document from the Department of Corrections that reflects: the offense for which she was imprisoned; the date of release from imprisonment; and the terms of release or parole 92 Illinois Administrative Code §1001.420, 430