Driving on a Suspended License in Tennessee

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Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in Tennessee

In Tennessee, your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked for many reasons. If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, you could be charged with a misdemeanor. Jail time, fines and other penalties may result.

Reasons for Suspension or Revocation

Your license may be subject to mandatory revocation for certain convictions. For example, your license may be revoked if you are convicted of:

  • manslaughter, if it was the result of your driving
  • driving under the influence of an intoxicant
  • a felony, if a vehicle was used to commit it
  • failing to stop if you were involved in an accident that killed or injured someone
  • two convictions for reckless driving within 12 months
  • possessing five or more grams of meth while driving a vehicle, or
  • vehicle theft. (Tenn. Code. § 55-50-501(a)(c).)

A license may also be revoked if you fail to pay a judgment for damages resulting from negligently driving a vehicle. (Tenn. Code. § 55-50-501(b).)

Your license may be suspended for certain alcohol offenses, including driving under the influence. (Tenn. Code. § 55-10-406.) You may be eligible for a restricted license to drive to work. (Tenn. Code. § 55-50-502(c)(3).)

Your license may also be suspended if you:

have been convicted frequently enough of serious traffic offenses that the state believes you disrespect traffic laws and disregard the safety of others

  • are habitually reckless or negligent when you drive
  • are incompetent to drive
  • fail to appear in court for certain traffic violations
  • drop out of school if you are under 18. (Tenn. Code. § 55-50-502(a)(1).)

Reinstating Your License

The period of time your license is under suspension or revocation may vary. You should not drive while your driving privileges are withdrawn. After your suspension or revocation period expires, you may be required to pay a reinstatement fee, pay other fees, and fulfill other conditions before your license is reinstated.

Criminal Charges for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License

You may be charged with a Class B or Class A misdemeanor if you drive while your license is suspended or revoked.

You may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor for a first offense. (Tenn. Code. § 55-50-504(a)(1).) In general, the maximum penalty for a Class B misdemeanor is:

  • six months in jail, and
  • a $500 fine. (Tenn. Code. § 40-35-111(e)(2).)

You may have a minimum sentence if your license was suspended or revoked due to certain offenses, including vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, and certain alcohol offenses. (Tenn. Code. § 55-50-504(a)(1).) Your sentence may involve:

  • between two days and six months in jail, and
  • a maximum $1,000 fine. (Tenn. Code. § 55-50-504(a)(1).)

For a second or subsequent offense within 10 years, you may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. (Tenn. Code. § 55-50-504(a)(2).) The maximum punishment for a Class A misdemeanor may involve:

  • up to 11 months, 29 days in jail, and
  • a maximum $2,500 fine. (Tenn. Code. § 40-35-111(e)(1).)

You may have a minimum sentence if your license was suspended or revoked due to certain offenses, including vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, and certain alcohol offenses. (Tenn. Code. § 55-50-504(a)(1).) Your sentence may involve:

  • between 45 days and 1 year in jail, and
  • a maximum $3,000 fine. (Tenn. Code. § 55-50-504(a)(2).)

If you drive a vehicle without an ignition interlock device when you are required to have one, you may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. (Tenn. Code. § 55-50-504(k).) Your sentence may involve:

  • between seven days and six months in jail, and
  • a fine up to $1,000. (Tenn. Code. § 55-50-504(k).)

In addition, a conviction for driving with a suspended or revoked license may come with an additional $15 fine. (Tenn. Code. § 68-55-303.)

Legal Help for Charges of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License

A conviction for driving on a suspended or revoked license may come fines and even jail time. These are serious consequences that may cause problems with work or school, with insurance, and with other areas of your life. While Tennessee law provides specific penalties for a conviction, your sentence may depend on the view that your community, prosecutors and judges have of the crime. An attorney who is familiar with how these charges are handled in your area is best able to provide you with information about your individual case.

Updated by: , Attorney

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