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License Reinstatement in Tennessee

By Russell Nixon

Hundreds of thousands of indigent Tennesseans now have an opportunity to reinstate their suspended licenses.

Tennessee and other states have long used drivers license suspensions to insure payment of traffic fines and court costs. U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger says that practice must stop. In her October 2018 landmark decision, Judge Trauger found that the suspensions did nothing to ensure people paid their debt. She also stated that “the lack of an indigence exception has resulted in numerous poor Tennesseeans with suspensions that they cannot overcome… the result being both constitutional and material injuries that are or are likely to be, irreparable.” The unintended consequence of the former practice left those owing fines and court costs without a license to drive to school, seek medical care, or work in order to earn money to pay the fines and court costs.

Judge Trauger’s order bars suspensions if the defendant can show they are unable to pay the traffic fine. Those whose licenses have already been suspended must ask the court for reinstatement of their driver’s license.

To determine if you are eligible to have your license reinstated call 866.903.7357, visit dl.safety.tn.gov, or visit an in-person reinstatement center.

If you have other legal questions call the talented team at McCarter | East PLLC. 615-570-3047.