Suspended License in Tennessee
Driving isn't a right―it's a privilege. If you fail to treat it as such you risk having your driver license suspended or revoked.
Chapter Five of the Tennessee Driver Handbook thoroughly explains the reasons for license suspension or revocation, as well as legal procedures, suspension alternatives, license reinstatement, and obtaining a restricted license.
Whenever you need or want to check the status of your driver’s license, you can order a driving record report. This record will spell out if your driver’s license is currently valid. Should your license have been revoked or suspended, the report will indicate that according to what’s on record at the DOS. This report will also show points against your license and, in some cases, information on any accidents you have had.
Get your personal drivers´ license history instantly and online. Find out what information is on your driving record with a BackgroundChecks.com Instant Motor Vehicle Report. Keep in mind, you can only run an instant motor vehicle report on yourself.
Aside from suspension or revocation due to point accumulation (12 or more points accumulated during 12 months), there are many other causes for license suspension or revocation:
- Failing to provide proof of financial responsibility in the event of a traffic accident or other violation
- Failing to pay for gas or Diesel
- Repeat traffic violation convictions
- Having mental or physical disabilities
- Using the license unlawfully, including alteration of license
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Failing to provide assistance/aid in the event of an accident
- Failing to provide correct information regarding the motor vehicle or license
- Committing a motor vehicle-related felony
- Fleeing an officer/avoiding arrest
- Drag racing
- Committing homicide or manslaughter involving a motor vehicle
- Negligent motor vehicle operation resulting in unsatisfied judgment
- Failing to pay child support
- Having or buying alcohol if between the ages of 18 and 20
- Two reckless driving convictions in 12 months
- Failing to notify the Department of Safety within 10 days of an address change
Drivers younger than 18 risk license revocation for the following reasons:
- Drug or alcohol convictions, regardless of motor vehicle involvement
- Quitting school
- Noncompliance with school progress requirements
- Conviction of weapons violation
Check out our Commercial Drivers section for information regarding CDL suspension and revocation.
Note that it is illegal to drive while your license is suspended, and doing so will result in additional suspension time as well as prosecution.
Before your license is suspended or revoked, you'll be granted a hearing to assess your future driving privileges.
Sometimes successfully completing a defensive driving course can substitute for license suspension. You may enroll in a defensive driving course only once during a five-year period, if ordered to do so during your hearing.
Tennessee allows you to check for a course in your area online.
Depending on the reason your license was suspended, you'll receive a set of requirements to resolve the issue and comply with Tennessee laws. Contact the Tennessee Department of Safety (DOS) for information on clearing your driving record:
- Visit the online reinstatement section
- Visit a license reinstatement location
- Call them at (615) 741-3954 or TDD (615) 532-2281
- Email them at FinResp.Safety@state.tn.us or write to them at:
- Tennessee Department of Safety
- Financial Responsibility Division
- P.O. Box 945
- Nashville, TN 37202
The DOS understands that there are certain situations, such as employment and schooling, that require you to drive. In such situations, you may be able to apply for a restricted license.
The exact procedures for application depend on the reason for suspension or revocation and can be found in Chapter Five of the Tennessee Driver Handbook. In a nutshell, those reasons are:
- Failing to provide proof of financial responsibility
- Frequent traffic violations
- Implied consent
- Drug Free Youth Act violations
If you are issued a restricted license, the DOS will clearly outline the strict conditions during which you may operate a motor vehicle.
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