What Are the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Tennessee?

How Minors Can Lose Their Driving Privileges in Tennessee

In Tennessee, driving is a privilege, not a right, especially for minors. This privilege can be easily revoked for various reasons—and you might be surprised at some of them. Understanding these reasons can help young drivers maintain their driving status and avoid unnecessary complications for them and for their parents or legal guardians. With that in mind, a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby discusses how minors can lose theirWhat Are the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Tennessee? driving privileges in Tennessee.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Driving under the influence is a serious offense that can have severe consequences for minors in Tennessee. The state has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. While the legal limit for most adult motorists is 0.08 percent, if a minor is caught with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.02 percent or higher, they can face a yearlong license suspension along with various other penalties and fines. Subsequent offenses can lead to even longer suspensions and having a DUI on your driving record will raise insurance rates for several years.

Accumulation of Points

Tennessee operates a point system to monitor driving behavior and if a driver accumulates sufficient points, his or her driving privileges will be suspended. Minors are particularly susceptible to the accumulation of points as they are new to driving. If you accumulate 12 points within a 12-month period, your license may be suspended. If a minor accumulates 6 or more points within a 12-month period, they are subject to a mandatory driving improvement course. Failure to complete this course can result in license suspension. Common infractions and their associated points include:

  • Speeding (1-5 mph over the limit): 1 point
  • Speeding (6-15 mph over the limit): 3 points
  • Speeding (16-25 mph over the limit): 4 points
  • Reckless Driving: 6 points
  • Failure to Obey Traffic Signals: 4 points

Driving Without Insurance

In Tennessee, driving without valid insurance is illegal. Minors caught driving without insurance can face immediate license suspension until proof of insurance is provided. You will also incur additional fees to reinstate your license once proof of insurance is submitted.

School Attendance Requirements

Tennessee enforces strict school attendance requirements for minors to maintain their driving privileges. If a minor drops out of school or has excessive unexcused absences, their driving privileges can be revoked. Missing 10 consecutive days or 15 days in a semester can trigger a license suspension. If a minor drops out of school, their driving privileges can be suspended until they turn 18 or re-enroll in school.

Criminal Convictions

Certain criminal convictions can result in the loss of driving privileges for minors in Tennessee. These include:

  • Drug-Related Offenses: Possession, sale, or distribution of controlled substances can lead to license suspension.
  • Theft or Vandalism: Engaging in criminal activities such as theft or vandalism can result in the loss of driving privileges.
  • Other Felonies: Convictions for other felonies may also result in the suspension or revocation of a minor’s license.
  • Using a Fake ID: If a minor is convicted of using a fake ID to purchase or consume alcohol there is a mandatory license suspension of one year.

Parental or Guardian Request

Parents or legal guardians have the authority to request the suspension of their minor child’s driving privileges in Tennessee. This typically occurs because the parent or guardian is concerned about behavioral issues, school performance, or safety concerns.

Violating Learner Permit or Intermediate License Restrictions

Tennessee has a graduated driver licensing (GDL) program designed to gradually introduce driving privileges to young drivers. For example, minors with intermediate licenses are not allowed to drive between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed driver aged 21 or older and may not have more than one passenger in the vehicle under the age of 21 (unless they are family members). Violating the restrictions of a learner permit or intermediate license can result in the suspension of driving privileges.

Contact a Murfreesboro DUI Defense Attorney 

If your minor child is facing a driver’s license suspension in Tennessee, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro DUI defense attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.