In Tennessee, your driver's license can be suspended or revoked for many reasons. If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, you could be charged with a misdemeanor.
This article explains the various reasons for license suspension or revocation and the penalties you'll face if you continue to drive on a suspended or revoked license in Tennessee.
When your license is suspended or revoked, it generally means that the state has taken away your driving privileges. In other words, while the suspension or revocation is in place, you can't lawfully drive.
In many states, "revocation" and "suspension" are used synonymously, they mean the same thing. However, some states use the term "suspension" to mean a temporary loss of privileges and "revocation" to mean the permanent loss of privileges. But even in states where revocation is permanent, the driver can typically apply for reinstatement after a certain period of time.
In Tennessee, a suspension and revocation are the same in most respects. Each type of revocation or suspension has reinstatement requirements. But the labels "suspension" and "revocation" don't make much of a difference.
Below are some of the most common reasons a driver might face a license suspension or revocation in Tennessee.
A driver might be looking at a period of license suspension for any of the following reasons:
Depending on the situation, a suspension will be for a definite or indefinite period of time. With an indefinite suspension, the driver will normally need to complete some condition (such as prove competency) to lift the suspension.
License revocation is normally the result of some type of criminal conviction. Here are some of the most common reasons a driver's license might be revoked:
But this is just a partial list—there are many other reasons your license can be revoked.
You may be charged with a class B or class A misdemeanor if you drive while your license is suspended or revoked. The classification and penalties depend on the circumstances of the offense.
A standard first-offense conviction for driving while suspended or revoked is a class B misdemeanor. A conviction generally carries:
Where a driver has one or more prior convictions for the same offense that occurred within the past ten years, driving while suspended or revoked is a class A misdemeanor. A conviction generally carries:
If your suspension or revocation was for vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, or driving while intoxicated, driving while suspended or revoked as a first offense is a class B misdemeanor and carries:
For a second or subsequent offense of this type within ten years of a prior, you'll be looking at a class A misdemeanor charge. A conviction carries:
When a suspended or revoked driver was ordered to operate a vehicle only with an ignition interlock device and violates this condition, he or she can be charged with a class B misdemeanor. A conviction carries:
The period of time your license is under suspension or revocation may vary. Generally, you can drive while the suspension or revocation is still in effect.
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. The specific requirements depend on the circumstances that led to the suspension or revocation.
A conviction for driving on a suspended or revoked license may come with 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.