Republican looks to change Virginia law against arresting lawmakers for misdemeanors after delegate evades DUI

Republican looks to change Virginia law against arresting lawmakers for misdemeanors after delegate evades DUI

A law preventing legislators from being arrested under misdemeanor charges is being blamed for blocking police from detaining a state legislator presumed to be driving under the influence over the weekend.

CNN reported that Virginia House Del. Chris Hurst (D), 32, was stopped by police after an officer saw his car swerving.

Hurst was pulled over by Lt. Stephen Swecker near his home in Blacksburg, Va., and performed a field sobriety test and breath test, which resulted in him blowing a .085, above the legal limit of 0.08


According to CNN, Swecker decided not to arrest Hurst because he concluded the state lawmaker would not be above the legal limit once he was able to do a formal breathalyzer test.

The Christiansburg Police Department also said the police officer was also worried about a provision in Virginia's Constitution that prevents legislators from being arrested while the Virginia legislature is in session. Virginia's legislation is expected to stay in session until early March.  

"No arrest was made. Under the Constitution, no arrest could have been made," CNN affiliate WSLS reported.

State Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Va.) introduced a resolution on Thursday to amend the state Constitution and change the language to avoid such situations going forward.

"We shouldn't be above the law no more than our constituents to which we write bills to govern. We are sent here to do a job, to make laws for all the people -- not some of the people," Reeves told CNN on Friday.

The Giles County Republican Committee on Thursday called for Hurst to resign, saying in a series of Facebook posts that there was a need to "restore faith in leadership." It also recalled Hurst's rhetoric when he asked for the resignation of Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) during a scandal showing one of Northam's past yearbook photos in blackface, according to CNN. 


The committee wrote that "Hurst should take his own advice — follow his own standard — and resign at the call of his constituents so that faith in our leadership can be restored."

On Wednesday, Hurst wrote a post on Twitter and Facebook apologizing for his actions, saying, "To those I have let down, I am deeply sorry. I will spend the remainder of my time in office working diligently to advocate for our community and regain any trust that I have lost."