DUI Restricted Licenses in Tennessee

When you’ve been convicted of a DUI in Tennessee, you’ll automatically have your driver’s license revoked or suspended. This will greatly alter your lifestyle, making it difficult to get to work or school, go to the doctor or even the grocery store, and otherwise drastically impact your daily routine.

Luckily, for most people convicted of DUI, there is the possibility of obtaining a Restricted License in Tennessee. There are two types of Restricted Licenses: (1) Restricted License with geographic restrictions, and (2) Restricted License with an ignition interlock device. In either case, a judge must approve the issuance of the Restricted License and you must meet the State’s requirements in order to qualify.

Eligibility for a DUI Restricted License in Tennessee

The State of Tennessee will not consider you eligible for a Restricted License if you have ever been convicted of vehicular homicide while intoxicated or have a prior conviction for either vehicular assault or aggravated vehicular homicide. If your DUI violation resulted in serious bodily injury or death of another person, you will also not be deemed eligible for a Restricted License in Tennessee.

While a Restricted License with geographic restrictions is less expensive and maybe less embarrassing, a person is eligible for this type of license only in very limited circumstances. In most cases and in most circumstances, a person convicted of DUI will only be eligible for a Restricted license that limits driving to a vehicle with an ignition interlock device. If the court has ordered that your driving is to be restricted to a vehicle or vehicles with ignition interlock devices, be sure that the device has been installed prior to submitting an application for your DUI Hardship License. The ignition interlock device is a breath analyzer that prevents a person who has been drinking alcohol from starting and driving the vehicle. The device also requires submissions of breath samples randomly while the vehicle is being driven.

How to Get a DUI Hardship License in Tennessee?

In order to apply for a DUI Restricted License in Tennessee, you must first request a certified order signed by a judge in the court where you were convicted of your DUI or in the court of the county where you reside.
You’ll also need to obtain an SR-22 certificate of insurance from your vehicle insurer to show that your policy is in effect.

The State of Tennessee requires a $65 license fee as well as a $2.00 application fee for a DUI Hardship License. Within 10 days of receiving it, you must present your original certified Court Order along with a copy of the same to your local Driver Services Center.

You may also be required to pass a Driver’s License Examination.

Where Can I Drive with a Tennessee DUI Hardship License?

If you are granted a DUI Restricted License with geographic restrictions from the State of Tennessee, you will only be allowed to drive to and from the following places:

  • Your current place of employment
  • Your college campus if you are currently enrolled in higher education
  • Appointments with your probation officer
  • Appointments for interlock device monitoring services
  • Outpatient programs for drug and alcohol treatment
  • Religious services or mass at your house of worship

By contrast, there are no limitations of where or when you can drive if you are granted a DUI Restricted License requiring an ignition interlock device. This reason alone often convinces those convicted of DUI to choose this option. More importantly, unless the circumstances of the DUI offense fall within the very narrow exception that would permit a judge to grant a Restricted License with geographic limitations, a person convicted of DUI must operate a vehicle with an ignition interlock for 365 days before becoming eligible for license reinstatement, whether or not they choose to obtain a Restricted License.

While obtaining a DUI Hardship License in Tennessee may seem daunting, a Knox Defense attorney can provide the help needed to get you back on the road so you can continue to safely meet your obligations.


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