Traffic Ticket FAQ in Tennessee
- I just got ticketed. What's my next move?
- What happens if I don't enter a plea?
- Will I receive points on my driving record?
- Should I worry about too many points?
- Can I get points reduced?
- Why should I hire a traffic ticket attorney?
- After getting cited, should I expect increased car insurance premiums?
- I lost my citation? Am I doomed?
- Are traffic ticket fines the same throughout Tennessee?
- What happens if I get ticketed with a Tennessee CDL?
- Why should I check my driving record after getting cited?
- What if I can't make my court appearance date?
Enter one of three pleas: guilty, no contest, or not guilty.
Regardless of plea, it must be entered before the ticket's compliance date passes.
Ignoring the citation will result in a default judgement, leading to the possible suspension of your Tennessee driver's license and a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.
The Tennessee Department of Safety (DOS) will assign points to your driving record based on the violation. The more severe the violation, the higher the point total.
Depending on your car insurance provider, points may cause an increase in your premiums.
At 12 points the DOS will send you a proposed suspension letter, giving you the chance to attend an administrative hearing. If you fail to respond to the notice the DOS will suspend your Tennessee driver's license for up to 12 months.
If eligible, you can get the ticket dismissed―meaning no fine or points―by completing a court-approved Defensive Driving class. Our Defensive Driving page provides full details.
If you opt to challenge the traffic ticket, legal counsel will improve your chances for a favorable decision. This could mean reduced charges or ticket dismissal, possibly sparing you of points, the possible suspension of your Tennessee driver's license and increased auto insurance rates.
Check with your car insurance agent. Each company has different policies regarding traffic tickets.
If you notice an increase, consider finding a new provider. You can conveniently compare rates online from a host of different auto insurance companies.
No, provided you immediately act on it. Traffic tickets are time sensitive, requiring a response before the ticket's compliance date expires. With this in mind, prioritize contacting the presiding court as quickly as possible.
Learn what steps to take in our Lost Traffic Ticket page.
Fines vary by county and municipality. The fine amount will be posted on your citation.
Direct fine amount questions to the court listed on your traffic ticket.
In addition to paying the traffic ticket fine, you must also:
- Notify you're employer of the traffic ticket conviction. This applies to all vehicles―including your home car―regardless of state.
- Notify the DOS if convicted of a traffic violation outside of Tennessee.
- Notify, if applicable, your employer within two days of having your CDL suspended, revoked, or cancelled.
Visit our Ticket Fines & Penalties page for a detailed list of CDL penalties.
You always want to make sure there are no errors. Plus, check for point awareness. If you know you're nearing the state's suspension limit, you may adopt more defensive driving practices.
Contact the court listed on the citation. Most courts will reschedule a new date if you provide enough advance notice.