Fight Traffic Ticket in TennesseePage Overview
You must enter one of the following pleas: guilty, no contest (nolo contendere), or not guilty. Regardless of plea, it must be entered before the ticket's compliance date expires.
If you cannot find your citation, learn what steps to follow in our Lost Traffic Ticket page.
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine.
- Option to plea bargain penalties.
- Incur points on your driving record (could lead to license suspension/revocation).
- Possibly incur increase on auto insurance rates.
- Possibly have points reduced by attending a defensive driving class.
Learn more about
Pay Traffic Ticket.
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Contest traffic ticket via trial.
- Choose to represent yourself or hire an attorney.
- Possibly lose option to plea bargain for lesser penalties.
- No penalties if found not guilty, but must pay court/attorney fees.
Learn more by reading below.
Pleading not guilty means:
- You are challenging the charge before a judge with the intent of having the charges reduced or the ticket dismissed.
- You can represent yourself or hire legal counsel to prepare and present your case.
- If the court rules in your favor, you still must pay court costs and, if applicable, legal fees.
- If you are found guilty, you must pay the traffic ticket fine, court costs, and, if applicable, legal fees. The Department of Safety (DOS) will assign points to your driving record, possibly causing the suspension or revocation of your TN driver's license.
- A guilty charge may cause a spike in your car insurance rates.
Pleading Guilty or No Contest
Pleading guilty or no contest forfeits your right to challenge the citation in court. Our Pay Traffic Ticket page has all the skinny on this topic.
Read your citation. Some courts allow not guilty pleas to be entered by mail; others require a court appearance.
If you enter your plea by mail, the court will send a court date to the address listed on the citation.
If your budget allows, strongly consider hiring legal counsel.
A traffic ticket lawyer's experience and expertise will improve your chances for reduced charges or dismissal. This in turn could possibly save you from loss of driving privileges and increased car insurance premiums.
If you opt to represent yourself, the onus is on you to gather evidence and build a strong defense. This may mean interviewing and subpoenaing witnesses and getting hold of your driving record.
After listening to both sides, the presiding judge will issue a verdict. If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to appeal. Check with the court clerk for appeal information.
Regardless of verdict, check your driving record for accuracy. Verify points and violations. Immediately alert the DOS of any errors.
A guilty verdict could cause a jump in your car insurance premiums. If rates begin to stretch the budget, search online for a new provider.Other Topics in This Section