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Del. Chris Hurst could not have been arrested during traffic stop after blowing .085, says CA

Del. Chris Hurst’s blood alcohol concentration came in above the legal limit when he was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving on Sunday, according to the Christiansburg Police Dept.

Authorities say Hurst was pulled over by an officer around 2 a.m. on the US-460 overpass between the downtown Christiansburg and Peppers Ferry Road exits.

The officer said he saw Hurst’s car swerve across the right side fog-line several times and drive over the speed limit for a short period of time.

When the officer pulled over Hurst and approached the car, he said he noticed Hurst’s eyes were red and he smelled alcohol coming from inside the vehicle.

After running Hurst’s license, the officer asked Hurst to follow his pen with his eyes. Once the officer noticed that Hurst was not able to do so smoothly, he asked Hurst to step out of the car to perform field sobriety tests.

The officer reportedly gave Hurst a preliminary field breath test, a portable breath test used in the field that is not admissible as evidence in court. Authorities said Hurst’s blood alcohol concentration came in at .085%, above the 0.80% legal limit.

According to the police department, the officer then determined that Hurst would be below the legal limit by the time he was able to bring him into the magistrate’s office for a formal breathalyzer test, which is the only admissible test in court. Because of this, Hurst’s performance during the field sobriety tests and the fact that he had a sober companion in the car who could drive him home, the officer said he released Hurst without charging him.

According to the officer, he was aware that Hurst is a delegate, but that was not mentioned by anyone during the traffic stop.

The Christiansburg Police Department also pointed out that because of an article in the Constitution of Virginia, it would be very unlikely for Hurst to be prosecuted in court, even if he had been arrested.

In an email to 10 News, Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt said, “Hurst was stopped and detained on suspicion of DUI by Lt. Stephen Swecker. No arrest was made. Under the Constitution, no arrest could have been made.”

Here is a part of the police department’s statement that explains this section further:

A legal source who is familiar with the Virginia constitution tells 10 News this goes back hundreds of years to protect the minority from the majority using police powers to keep them from voting during a session.

“This might seem farfetched nowadays but not hundreds of years ago when these came into existence it wasn’t,” the source said.

The lawyer also tells 10 news legislators are not immune, they just can’t be arrested during the session.

Del. Hurst released a statement, saying he “takes full responsibility” for what happened. Here’s his full statement:

Statement from Del. Chris Hurst after a traffic stop.

Statement from Del. Chris Hurst after a traffic stop.


Source: WSLS News 10

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