Statement from Del. Chris Hurst (D-HD12) regarding this story (“A Virginia legislator pulled over on suspicion of intoxicated driving Sunday in Christiansburg left with a warning, not a charge — and could not have been cited even if the police officer wanted to because of a provision of the Virginia Constitution”):
To the people of the 12th District:
Earlier this month, I swore to uphold the United States and Virginia constitutions and faithfully discharge my duties incumbent upon me as a member of the House of Delegates. I take that oath seriously and consider my service to the 12th District to be the honor of my life.
Unfortunately, this past weekend, I made a grave mistake that rightfully has some of you questioning my judgement. Saturday night I went to a party with my girlfriend. While at that party, she and I drank alcohol but at the time I never believed that my competence to drive was compromised. Early Sunday morning, we drove home and I was the driver. A few miles from my home in Blacksburg, I was pulled over by an officer with Christiansburg Police. After questioning my ability to drive, he asked for me to step out of the car and submit to a series of field sobriety tests. I fully complied and respected the officer’s request and completed those tests, including a breathalyzer test. My blood alcohol content was shown to be .085%. That is over the legal limit and I should not have been drinking and driving. My girlfriend also submitted to a breathalyzer test. She was under the legal limit and we were both told by the officer that we were free to go, providing that she drive us home.
It has been brought up that sitting members of the General Assembly cannot be charged with crimes while they are in session. While true, I don’t agree that I should be immune from prosecution when warranted. I never avoid responsibility and accept the consequences of my actions. I am not above the law.
This experience has humbled me in a profound way, particularly hearing from so many who have been personally impacted by losing loved ones to drunk driving. While I knew the dangers of drinking and driving ahead of time, I displayed poor judgement and made a mistake. For so many, however, one mistake can mean the death of someone they love. I will take that fact with me in the future with renewed appreciation and respect. 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.