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Tennessee’s Driver’s License Point System

Tennessee records all driver’s license holders’ traffic violations to identify who continuously disregards laws. To keep track of these violations, the state has imposed a point system known as Tennessee’s Driver Improvement Program (DIP).

Point Value System

The amount of points a person receives on their license depends entirely on the severity of the violation. The system is as follows:

1 Point Awarded

  • Speeding 1 to 5 MPH over the speed limit (2 if in a construction zone)

2 Points Awarded

  • Driving without a license in possession

3 Points Awarded

  • Speeding 6 to 15 MPH over the speed limit (4 if in a construction zone)
  • Driving under the posted minimum MPH
  • Driving too fast for traffic conditions
  • Erratic driving or changing lanes without signaling
  • Following other drivers too closely
  • Making a turn improperly
  • Failing to signal before a turn
  • Obstructing traffic
  • Coasting
  • Obstructing the driver’s view
  • An inability to maintain control of a vehicle
  • Operating a motorcycle improperly
  • Not paying attention while driving
  • Driving while using a cell phone
  • Driving without a license
  • Contributing to a crash that results in property damage

4 Points Awarded

  • Speeding 16 to 25 MPH over the speed limit (5 if in a construction zone)
  • Negligent driving
  • Failing to obey traffic instructions (signals and signs)
  • Improperly passing other drivers
  • Driving in the wrong direction
  • Failing to yield to the right-of-way driver
  • Using a controlled access highway
  • Failing to report an accident
  • Contributing to a crash that resulted in injury

5 Points Awarded

  • Speeding 26 to 35 MPH over the speed limit (6 if in a construction zone)
  • Leaving the scene of an accident

6 Points Awarded

  • Speeding 36 to 45 MPH over the speed limit (8 if in a construction zone)
  • Driving recklessly
  • Failing to yield to emergency service vehicles
  • Receiving a license restriction violation

8 Points Awarded

  • Speeding 46 o MPH or more over the speed limit
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Passing a stopped school bus
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Fleeing from law enforcement officials
  • Contributing to a crash that resulted in a fatality

Consequences of Acquiring Points

If a driver continuously acquires points, they may face serious legal repercussions. These punishments vary depending on if the repeat violator is a minor or of legal age.

Repercussions for Adults

Drivers who are 18 or older usually receive a warning letter after accumulating 6 points in a year. If this person accumulates 12 points in a year, they will receive a notice of proposed suspension. This notice entails the possible length of suspension and a hearing date to enable them a contest to the suspension, if they choose. The driver has 3 options after receiving this notice:

  • Appear in Court: The driver can choose to appear in court to argue the validity of their license suspension. If the court approves the suspension, the driver’s license could be suspended for 6 to 12 months.
  • Failure to Appear in Court: If the driver chooses to skip their hearing, they face an automatic 6-month license suspension.
  • Waive the Right to a Hearing: The driver who waives the right to a hearing could receive probation. They must complete a defensive driving course and receive a 12-month probation. If they incur any traffic violations during this time, they face a revocation of their probation and license suspension.

Repercussions for Minors

Drivers who are under the age of 18 are subject to stricter point limits as well as more license penalties for accumulating points. Young drivers with a learner’s permit or intermediate license could face a delay in obtaining their license for 90 to 180 days after accumulating points. Like adults, minors receive a warning letter in the mail before the initiation of a suspension hearing. Unlike adults, the notice of proposed suspension is issued after accumulating 6 points in one year. A minor has only 2 hearing options:

  • Appear in Court: If the minor appears at their hearing, the court administrator will decide whether or not the suspension is valid. If so, the license could be suspended for 3 to 6 months and the minor must take a defensive driver course. If the minor has accumulated more than 10 points in a year, their license will be suspended, and they will be required to take a driving course.
  • Failure to Appear in Court: If the minor fails to appear at their hearing, their license will be automatically suspended for 6 months and they must complete a defensive driving course.

Can a Driver Reduce Points?

If the driver pays the fine for their violation before the due date, they can reduce their points. A swift payment reduces 2-point violations by 1 point and the other violations by 2 points.

Aggressive Defense Attorneys

If you are facing points on your driver’s license from a DUI, our attorneys can help. We provide sound legal counsel and advocacy for all our clients and will do everything we can to obtain a successful outcome.

Call our firm today at (615) 933-2454 or contact us online for a complimentary case review.

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