How to Pay Traffic Ticket in Tennessee?

Receiving a traffic ticket in Tennessee might feel like an unwelcome hassle, but the process to pay for it is relatively straightforward. Understanding the different methods of payment and the potential consequences of traffic violations can help drivers confidently and efficiently handle their tickets.

Tennessee offers various means to pay traffic ticket fines, such as online, by mail, or in person. The option you choose depends on the court and the specific violation you committed. Being aware of the imposed deadlines is crucial to avoid any further penalties. Additionally, it’s essential to recognize that paying the ticket fine generally implies admitting guilt, which can lead to points added to your driving record.

Knowing the potential consequences of pleading guilty or no contest, such as license suspension, increased auto insurance rates, or taking a defensive driving class, empowers Tennessee drivers to make informed decisions. Addressing traffic tickets promptly and effectively can ensure minimal disruptions to your daily life and driving record.

Understanding Tennessee Traffic Tickets

In Tennessee, traffic tickets are issued for various types of traffic violations. They contribute not only to fines, but also to points on your driving record. It is important to understand how to properly handle these tickets and the impact they may have on your driving privileges in the state.

When you receive a traffic ticket in Tennessee, the details of the citation and options for resolution will depend on the specific violation, as well as the court handling your case. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for ticket dismissal if you complete a state-approved defensive driving course1. However, you must apply for this option with the court.

There are multiple ways to pay your Tennessee traffic ticket fine, including online, by mail, or in person2. The method of payment depends on your court and your specific violation. It is crucial to pay attention to due dates and compliance deadlines, as missing them may result in additional fees or penalties.

Fines for traffic violations in Tennessee can vary depending on factors such as the violation type, location, and the judge presiding over your case. Failure to address the ticket within the designated timeframe will lead to further penalties and could even result in a suspension of your driver’s license.

Keep in mind that traffic tickets can affect your driving record in Tennessee. Accumulating too many points on your record may result in a suspension of your driving privileges. Therefore, it is important to address any traffic tickets in a timely and responsible manner.

In some cases, you have the option to contest the ticket in court by pleading not guilty3. Going through a court hearing will allow you to challenge the ticket and potentially avoid penalties. However, this process may be more time-consuming and require legal representation, depending on the nature of your violation.

Overall, understanding the process of handling Tennessee traffic tickets is essential for any driver in the state. It can help you avoid further complications and ensure that you maintain a clean driving record.

Types of Traffic Violations

Tennessee traffic laws are in place to ensure the safety of all road users. It’s crucial to understand the various types of traffic violations and their potential consequences. This section will discuss some common traffic violations in Tennessee, including Speeding, Reckless Driving, DUI, Stop Sign Violations, Improper Passing, and Racing.


Speeding is a common traffic violation in Tennessee. The state has specific speed limits depending on the location and type of road. Speeding fines in Tennessee vary, with minor offenses such as going one to five miles above the allowed limit resulting in a $42.75 fine. Penalties increase with the severity of the speeding infraction.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a serious traffic violation where a driver exhibits willful disregard for the safety of other individuals or property. This type of violation may include excessive speeding, dangerous passing, or erratic lane changes. Penalties for reckless driving can include fines, points on your driving record, and even suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.


Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a severe traffic violation in Tennessee. The state has strict laws and penalties for DUI offenses, including fines, license suspension, and potential jail time. The severity of the penalties depends on factors such as the offender’s blood alcohol content and any previous DUI convictions.

Stop Sign Violations

Stop sign violations occur when drivers fail to come to a complete stop at a marked stop sign or traffic signal. This type of traffic violation can lead to fines and points on your driving record. It’s essential to obey traffic signals to ensure the safety of all road users.

Improper Passing

Improper passing is a traffic violation that involves unsafe or illegal passing maneuvers on the road. This may include passing on the right side, passing in a no-passing zone, or passing a stopped school bus. Penalties for improper passing can include fines and points on your driving record.


Racing or engaging in unauthorized speed contests on public roads is a dangerous and illegal traffic violation in Tennessee. Racing can lead to severe consequences, including fines, license suspension, and even vehicle seizure. It’s important to prioritize safety and adhere to traffic laws while driving on public roads.

By understanding and obeying traffic laws in Tennessee, you can help ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road. If you receive a traffic ticket, it’s important to know your options for paying or contesting the charges.

Penalties and Fines

When it comes to traffic tickets in Tennessee, it’s essential to be aware of the penalties and fines associated with different violations. This section will cover the point system, license suspension, and additional penalties that may apply.

Point System

Tennessee uses a point system for tracking traffic violations on an individual’s driving record. Points are assigned to each violation, with more severe offenses receiving higher point values. Accumulating too many points within a specific timeframe can lead to more severe consequences, such as license suspension.

License Suspension

If a driver accumulates 12 points within 12 months, their TN driver’s license may be suspended. It’s crucial to be mindful of the points associated with each infraction to avoid the risk of suspension. To potentially reduce points or dismiss the ticket altogether, a driver may consider completing a defensive driving class, depending on the violation and eligibility.

Additional Penalties

Besides points and license suspension, other penalties may apply to traffic ticket violations in Tennessee. For example, drivers who plead guilty or no contest will have to pay the fine listed on the citation. These fines can vary depending on the severity of the infraction. Additionally, drivers may experience an increase in their auto insurance rates after receiving a traffic ticket.

In some cases, a driver may be required to participate in the Driver Responsibility Program, which may include additional fees. Remember to stay informed about the potential penalties associated with traffic tickets in Tennessee so you can make informed decisions and take necessary actions to maintain a clean driving record.

Paying Your Traffic Ticket

When it comes to paying a traffic ticket in Tennessee, there are a few different methods available to you. The most common methods are online payment, setting up a payment plan, or paying with a money order. By understanding the different options, you can choose the method that works best for you based on your preferences and circumstances.

Online Payment

Paying your Tennessee traffic ticket online is one of the most convenient options. Many courts in the state offer the ability to pay your ticket through their designated websites. In most cases, all you need is your citation number, the amount you owe, and a valid credit or debit card. Keep in mind that there may be a small processing fee for using this method, typically around 2.25%.

Payment Plan

If you are unable to pay your traffic ticket in full at once, some courts in Tennessee may allow you to set up a payment plan. This option allows you to make smaller, more manageable payments over time until the fine is fully paid. To inquire about setting up a payment plan, contact the court listed on your citation to discuss your options and eligibility.

Money Order

Another option for paying your traffic ticket in Tennessee is with a money order. Money orders can be obtained from a variety of locations, including banks, post offices, and other financial institutions. To pay your ticket using a money order, you’ll need to include the citation number, your name, and any other relevant information required by the court. Be sure to send your payment before the due date listed on your citation to avoid any additional fines or penalties.

Contesting Your Traffic Ticket

Pleading Not Guilty

To contest your traffic ticket in Tennessee, you must plead not guilty. To do this, you’ll need to inform the municipal or city court in charge of your case on or before the hearing date mentioned on your ticket. If you’ve misplaced your ticket, refer to lost TN traffic citations for more information.

Court Appearance

When you plead not guilty, you are usually required to make a court appearance. The judge will hear your case, and you’ll have the opportunity to present your defense. It’s essential to be well-prepared and bring any necessary documents, witnesses, or evidence to support your claims. Remember that the burden of proof is on you to convince the court that you are not guilty.

Administrative Hearing

In some cases, you may be eligible for an administrative hearing instead of a court appearance. Administrative hearings are less formal than court proceedings and are conducted by a hearing officer. The hearing officer will review the evidence presented by both you and the officer who issued the ticket. After reviewing the evidence, the hearing officer will make a decision on your case.

Appealing the Decision

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your court appearance or administrative hearing, you have the option to appeal the decision. To do this, you must file a notice of appeal within a specific time frame after the judgment is made. It’s essential to understand the appeal process and ensure that you follow all necessary steps to increase your chances of success.

In conclusion, contesting a traffic ticket in Tennessee can be a complex process, involving pleading not guilty, making a court appearance or attending an administrative hearing, and possibly appealing the decision. Ensure you’re aware of the due dates, proper procedures, and have all the required documentation to improve your chances of success.

Traffic Ticket Attorneys

Hiring a traffic ticket attorney in Tennessee can be a smart decision when you are facing a traffic citation. These legal professionals have extensive knowledge of traffic laws and can provide valuable guidance to help you navigate the legal process.

There are several benefits to hiring a traffic ticket attorney:

  • They can represent you in court, which is especially useful if a mandatory court appearance is required.
  • Their expertise in traffic laws can help identify potential defenses and negotiate a reduction in fines, points, or license suspensions.
  • They can potentially help you avoid increases in insurance premiums that may result from a traffic violation conviction.

To find a qualified traffic ticket attorney in Tennessee, consider the following steps:

  1. Ask for recommendations: Start by asking friends, family, or coworkers if they have any experience with traffic ticket attorneys in your area.

  2. Search online directories: Websites like Avvo and the LII Attorney Directory offer lists of licensed attorneys specializing in traffic ticket cases.

  3. Read reviews and ratings: Look for client testimonials and professional ratings to gauge the quality of a potential attorney. Keep in mind that every case is different, so it’s important to find an attorney experienced in handling traffic violations similar to yours.

  4. Confirm their experience and credentials: Verify the attorney’s license status, years of practice, and any special certifications or awards they may have earned.

  5. Schedule a consultation: Most traffic ticket attorneys offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Use this opportunity to ask questions, assess their communication style, and determine if they are the right fit for your needs.

Remember, hiring a traffic ticket attorney can be an investment in your future. By enlisting the help of an experienced professional, you increase the likelihood of a more favorable outcome for your case.

Defensive Driving Courses

In Tennessee, you may be eligible for ticket dismissal if you complete a state-approved defensive driving course. These courses are designed to improve your driving skills and knowledge, and can also help you avoid a driver’s license suspension or satisfy a Tennessee Department of Safety (DOS) requirement.

There are several defensive driving schools available throughout the state, offering 8-hour TDOS-approved courses for driver improvement referrals. Additionally, live-stream classes have been approved for the 8-hour defensive driving courses, making it even more convenient for you to complete the necessary training.

When selecting a driving school, be sure to choose one that is recognized by the Tennessee Department of Safety. You can find a list of approved providers online, sorted by county and region. Some popular driving schools in the state include Anderson Co. Driving School, Comprehensive Community Serv., Concepts in Safety, and Defensive Driving Courses Inc.

The length of defensive driving courses in Tennessee typically depends on the severity of the violation you received. In general, classes are either four or eight hours long. Regardless of the duration, all county courts offer at least one school that provides in-classroom instruction. It’s essential to complete the course successfully to reap the benefits, such as ticket dismissal or license suspension prevention.

In conclusion, taking a state-approved defensive driving course in Tennessee may provide several advantages related to your traffic ticket and overall driving knowledge. It’s crucial to select a reputable driving school that offers the necessary courses and meets the Tennessee Department of Safety’s requirements. Remember to fully engage in the process and learn from the experience, as it may prove beneficial in the long run.

Impact on Car Insurance

Car Insurance Rates

Receiving a traffic ticket in Tennessee has a substantial impact on car insurance rates. When you are convicted of a speeding violation, your insurance company may perceive you as a higher risk to insure, and therefore, adjust your rates accordingly. The increase in your insurance cost depends on the severity of the speeding ticket and the policies of your specific insurance provider. For example, a single traffic ticket can raise car insurance costs as much as 82%.

On average, Tennessee drivers may see an increase in their premiums ranging from 15% to 30% following a traffic citation. To better understand how insurance providers treat different types of speeding tickets, consider the following examples:

  • Allstate: $2,322 (base cost) / $2,755 (with minor speeding offense) / $3,189 (with significant speeding offense)
  • Farmers: $1,952 (base cost) / $2,378 (with minor speeding offense) / $2,804 (with significant speeding offense)
  • GEICO: $1,380 (typical increase over three years after a speeding ticket)

Car Insurance Premiums

While the duration of increased car insurance premiums is subject to state regulations and individual insurance providers, expect to see higher rates for at least three years following a traffic ticket. Some insurance providers offer options to reduce the impact of traffic violations, such as attending traffic school or enrolling in safe driving programs.

Regarding specific providers, here’s a brief overview of how long a ticket may affect your insurance:

  • Allstate: 3 to 5 years
  • Farmers: 3 to 5 years
  • GEICO: 3 years

It’s important to note that multiple speeding tickets in a short period may lead to even higher insurance rates and, in some cases, nonrenewal of your policy. To maintain affordable car insurance premiums, be mindful of traffic laws and prioritize safe driving habits.

Lost Traffic Tickets

Losing a traffic ticket in Tennessee can be a stressful situation, but there are ways to retrieve the important information needed to efficiently resolve the issue. It’s important to not ignore the lost ticket, as it may lead to penalties and even suspension of your driver’s license.

When dealing with a lost traffic ticket, the first thing you should do is gather as much information about the citation as possible. This includes identifying the exact amount you owe, including the traffic ticket fine, additional fees, and surcharges. Be sure to also confirm where and how you can pay these fees.

In some cases, you may be able to pay your Tennessee traffic ticket online, by mail, or in person, depending on your court and the specific violation. Keep in mind that there may be specific deadlines to respond to the ticket, and missing those deadlines can lead to penalties.

If you’re unsure about your ticket details or where to pay, contacting the appropriate court handling your case is a good route to take. This will help ensure that you are accurately addressing the lost traffic ticket and avoiding any further consequences.

It’s also important to understand that receiving a traffic ticket in Tennessee can result in points being added to your driving record. If you accumulate 12 points within 12 months, your Tennessee driver’s license may be suspended. Therefore, it’s crucial to resolve your lost traffic ticket as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In summary, when faced with a lost traffic ticket in Tennessee, it is essential to gather the necessary information, understand the potential consequences, and take action to resolve the citation within the required timeframe.

Tennessee Department of Safety

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security is responsible for managing traffic tickets and driver services in the state. This department ensures public safety by overseeing the licensing and regulation of drivers, including handling traffic ticket payments and reinstatements1. The main office of the Tennessee Department of Safety is located in Nashville, Tennessee2.

For traffic ticket payments, drivers can typically plead “guilty” and pay the fine as required3. Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders must notify their employer within 30 days of the violation conviction3. The department also offers a convenient online e-Services portal, where customers can renew or duplicate a license, change an address, take practice tests, and more4.

In case of a license suspension due to failing to pay a citation, reinstatement involves paying a $65 license fee and a $2.00 application fee5. Drivers are required to take the original certified Court Order and a copy to a Driver Services Center within ten (10) days of the date of the Court Order, along with any other required documentation5.

For reinstatement fees and payments, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security accepts money orders or cashier’s checks made out to the department2. No personal checks or cash are accepted. It is important to include the driver’s full name, date of birth, and driver license number when making payments2.

Overall, the Tennessee Department of Safety plays a crucial role in ensuring the smooth functioning of traffic ticket payments and other driver-related services in the state. By adhering to their regulations, drivers contribute to maintaining public safety on the roads.

Citation Search and Information

When you receive a traffic citation in Tennessee, it’s important to know your options and how to handle the situation properly. One of the first steps to take is to perform a citation search to gather information about your traffic ticket.

To conduct a citation search, you will need your citation number. This number can be found on the traffic ticket you received. It’s essential to keep this citation number handy, as it’s your unique identifier for the traffic offense and will be required for all further steps.

There are different ways to access information about your traffic citation in Tennessee. One convenient method is by searching for your citation online through the CitationSearch – Nashville platform. By entering your citation number, you can view all the relevant details about your ticket, such as the fine amount, court date, and any additional requirements or instructions.

Keep in mind that paying traffic citations in Tennessee can be done in various ways. The easiest and fastest method is paying online. You can also choose to pay by mail or in person at the proper court handling your case. Be sure to gather all the necessary information and documents before proceeding with your chosen method of payment.

In some cases, you might be eligible for ticket dismissal by completing a defensive driving class, as mentioned on DMV.ORG. Be aware that incurring points on your driving record due to unpaid or unresolved traffic tickets can lead to license suspension or revocation and a possible increase in auto insurance rates.

In summary, promptly conducting a citation search, understanding the information tied to your traffic citation, and choosing the most suitable method to resolve it are crucial steps to ensure a smooth process in dealing with traffic tickets in Tennessee.

Keeping Your Driving Record Clean

Maintaining a clean driving record is essential to ensure your driving privileges remain intact. In Tennessee, traffic violations may result in points being added to your driving record, which could lead to increased insurance rates and license suspension for repeat offenders. Below are a few strategies to help you keep your driving record clean.

Firstly, always drive responsibly and obey traffic laws. This might seem obvious, but being conscious of speed limits, traffic signs, and signals can significantly reduce the risk of receiving a traffic ticket. By following the rules of the road and practicing defensive driving techniques, you will demonstrate your commitment to safe driving and keep your record clean.

Second, if you do receive a traffic ticket in Tennessee, consider paying the ticket promptly to avoid additional penalties. According to DMV.ORG, you must respond to your traffic ticket by the deadline date to prevent further consequences. By addressing the violation right away, you can minimize the impact on your driving record.

Another option is to fight the traffic ticket in court. While this method may not always guarantee a favorable outcome, it could result in reduced charges or the dismissal of the ticket altogether, particularly if you can provide evidence that supports your case. It’s important to approach this option confidently, and with a clear understanding of the legal process.

In some cases, you may be eligible to attend a court-approved defensive driving course to have your ticket dismissed, which means no fine or points added to your record. Completing a defensive driving class can demonstrate your commitment to safety on the road and help maintain your driving record. You can find more details on DMV.ORG’s Defensive Driving page.

By following these guidelines and making a conscious effort to drive safely, you can maintain a clean driving record and prevent negative consequences to your driving privileges in Tennessee.

Considerations for Out-of-State Drivers

If you’re an out-of-state driver who has received a traffic citation in Tennessee (TN), it’s crucial to understand the process for handling TN traffic tickets to avoid potential complications with your driving record or license status.

Firstly, it’s important to note that in most cases, you’ll need to deal with the county court in Tennessee where the violation occurred. The citation you received should include complete instructions on how to pay or contest the ticket. Usually, you have the option to pay the ticket online, in person, or by mail, depending on the county’s specific procedures.

Out-of-state drivers should be aware that Tennessee participates in the Driver’s License Compact (DLC), which means other states will likely be notified about traffic ticket convictions in Tennessee. Consequently, your home state may decide to impose additional penalties; for example, they might add points to your driver’s license or increase your car insurance rates as a result of the TN traffic ticket.

If you decide to contest the ticket, it’s worth considering hiring a local traffic ticket attorney familiar with Tennessee laws and the county court system. Although there might be additional costs, a knowledgeable attorney can potentially help you avoid harsh penalties, such as points on your license, that could lead to higher insurance premiums or even license suspension.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find my Tennessee traffic ticket online?

To find your Tennessee traffic ticket online, visit the TN Traffic Ticket FAQ page. You’ll need your traffic ticket information or, in some cases, your driver’s license number and date of birth.

What are the options for paying a traffic ticket in TN?

In Tennessee, you can pay your traffic ticket online, by mail, or in person at the appropriate court handling your case. Make sure to check with the specific court for their accepted payment methods.

Are there any additional fees for online ticket payments?

There might be additional fees for online ticket payments, as they usually include a processing or convenience fee. Check the payment website or contact the court directly to inquire about any extra fees.

What happens if I don’t pay my traffic ticket within the due date?

If you don’t pay your traffic ticket within the due date, you may face additional penalties, such as an increase in the fine amount, suspension of your driver’s license, or even a warrant for your arrest. It’s important to handle your ticket in a timely manner and contact the court if you need an extension.

Do I need to attend court if I pay my ticket in Tennessee?

If you choose to plead guilty or no contest and pay your ticket, you generally won’t need to attend court. However, if you wish to contest the ticket or if your violation requires a mandatory court appearance, you must attend your scheduled court date. Check your traffic ticket or contact the court to find out if a court appearance is required.

Can I contest a traffic ticket in Tennessee?

Yes, you can contest a traffic ticket in Tennessee. To do so, you’ll need to plead not guilty and attend your scheduled court date to present your case. It’s a good idea to consult with a traffic ticket attorney if you’re planning to contest your ticket, as they can provide valuable guidance and advice on the best course of action.


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