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Obtaining a Restricted License in Tennessee

Concerned about driving to essential places following a license suspension or revocation? In most cases, individuals with revoked or suspended driver’s licenses may obtain a restricted license that will allow them limited driving privileges during their period of suspension. Keep reading today’s blog to learn more about who is eligible for a restricted license and the elements of an application.

Applying for a Restricted License

Individuals whose licenses have been revoked or suspended may submit an application to obtain a restricted driver’s license that will allow them to drive to certain places, such as work and school. Once the application is submitted, the court will schedule a hearing, where the applicant will present evidence detailing why their employment may be jeopardized by their inability to drive and be expected to show a lack of reasonable alternate transportation methods. Note that if a restricted license is granted, the individual will need to report to their probation officer’s office and schedule ignition interlock device (IID) monitoring appointments. A driver with a restricted license must use the IID at all times while operating their vehicle in order for the restricted license to be valid.

Why Obtain a Restricted License?

A restricted license allows an individual to drive to the following locations while their official license has been suspended or revoked:

  • the person's regular place of employment;
  • an office, meeting, or function with probation officer;
  • attending a court-ordered alcohol safety program;
  • a college or university if enrolled as a full time student;
  • a scheduled interlock monitoring appointment;
  • an outpatient alcohol or drug treatment program; or
  • regular place of worship for regularly scheduled religious services.

Who’s Eligible?

Under Tennessee law, individuals may be eligible under certain circumstances for a restricted license, particularly those who have no prior DUI convictions on their record. Be aware that no restricted license can be issued for a Class A, Class B, or Class C type license or to operate a commercial vehicle. Note that if you have never been licensed in Tennessee, you will be required to meet all requirements of a new resident in addition to all other requirements in order to obtain a restricted license.

Individuals who do not qualify for a restricted license are those who have been convicted of:

  • DUI in the past 10 years,
  • vehicular homicide by intoxication,
  • aggravated vehicular homicide,
  • vehicular assault by intoxication.

Commercial driver’s license holders also do not qualify for a restricted license under any circumstances, even if the violation occurred in a non-commercial vehicle.

The Application Process

To apply for a restricted license, individuals must obtain a certified order from the court where convicted or in their county of residence, signed by the judge. They must also obtain a SR-22 from their liability insurance company showing that it is currently in effect. Applicants must take their original certified Court Order and a copy to a Driver Services Center within 10 days of the date of the Court Order along with any other required documentation. Note that there is a $65 license issuance fee and $2 application fee. If the court requires an individual be restricted to vehicles with functioning IIDs, the device must be installed on the vehicle and installation papers presented at the Driver Service Center.

The judge will have the final say over whether the applicant is issued a restricted driver’s license, and they will consider factors such as whether the person is likely to repeat the offense or may fail to comply with the restrictions of the license. Applicants must also abide by the Tennessee Financial Responsibility Law before they are issued a restricted license, which states that their driving privileges will be suspended if they cannot provide proof of auto insurance.

Pending DUI Cases

In cases where a DUI charge is pending, a judge may order an offender to drive only to and from their place of work or with a vehicle equipped with an IID. Note that this is in addition to any other restrictions on the license at the time. If interlock is already required due to a prior revocation, individuals under this statute will be required to maintain interlock while driving to and from work on their Pending DUI restricted license.

Contact Eldridge & Blakney for Legal Guidance

If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, you may be eligible to apply for a restricted license. Although this license severely limits your original driving privileges, it still allows you to maintain some sort of continuity in life as you can still drive to essential places like school or work. If you have legal questions about your eligibility for a restricted license or how to apply for one in Tennessee, do not hesitate to contact our team at Eldridge & Blakney.

Speak with one of our attorneys about your situation today! Schedule a consultation with Eldridge & Blakney today.