February 16, 2016
License Suspension & Revocation
Tennessee licenses are subject to having their license suspended for various traffic violations. While Tennessee does not have the jurisdiction to revoke the license of out-of-state licensees, the State of Tennessee does have authority to order license suspensions or license revocations in Tennessee.
Driving While Impaired (DWI or DUI) is the most common offense that causes a license suspension or a license revocation for an individual. Simply being charged with drunk driving will cause the Tennessee’s license to be revoked for a period of thirty days. Further license revocations are caused if the driver is convicted of the DWI or if the individual charged with drunk driving refuses to take the Intoxilyzer 5000 (Breathalyzer) test used to determine the BAC.
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Accumulation of twelve (12) DMV points in a three (3) year experience period is another threshold that will cause an individual’s license to be revoked in Tennessee. If there have been prior license suspensions, the DMV can revoke one’s license for as few as eight (8) accumulated points during the same experience period.
Certain combinations of offenses can cause license revocations as well. For example, in a period of one (1) year, two (2) offenses of Careless and Reckless Driving, two traffic offenses of speeding in a speed limit zone of greater than 55 mph, or a Careless and Reckless Driving speeding in a speed limit zone of greater than 55 mph can each cause license revocations. The amount of the time of each license suspension depends on the specific combination of offenses.
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One’s Tennessee driver’s license can be revoked for traveling over 15 mph over the speed limit zone of greater than 55 mph. Generally; such traffic offenses are misdemeanors and will require a mandatory court appearance. However, drivers in Tennessee must be wary of the work zone violations which are, by statute, infraction offenses and do not evoke mandatory appearances. Thus, work zone tickets in Tennessee can be paid without making a court appearance and is a frequent license revocation pitfall for the unwary.
Being convicted of a traffic or moving violation while one’s Tennessee driver’s license is revoked causes further license suspensions. Even if the individual has resolved the underlying license revocation at the time they appear in court for the new traffic offense, a conviction of a moving violation will start an additional period of license revocation or suspension.
This is not a comprehensive list of offenses that can cause license revocations and license suspension in Tennessee. For some of the license revocations and license suspensions discussed above, it may be possible to obtain a Limited Driving Privilege.