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Getting a restricted license in Tennessee: 5 things to know

If you get a DUI conviction in Tennessee, your driver's license will be revoked or suspended for a specific period of time. The revocation period is one year for a first offense and two years for a second offense.

Under the implied consent law, your license can even be revoked if you refused to submit to a roadside breath test of your blood-alcohol level or refuse a blood alcohol test if a search warrant is obtained or exigent circumstances exist.

Even with a license suspension or revocation, however, it is possible to apply for a restricted license that will allow you to drive to certain restricted places under certain circumstances. If you are granted such a license, you can still get to work, school or medical appointments despite your DUI.

Here are five things to know about restricted licenses.

You have to apply.

The judge who sentenced you for DUI won't automatically give you a restricted license, just because you are eligible. You have to apply for it and there are several steps involved, including:

  • Getting a certified court order, with a judge's signature
  • Obtaining the proper liability insurance form
  • Paying license and applications fees
  • Complying with any applicable ignition interlock requirements

Certain offenses prevent you from applying for a restricted license.

A conviction or prior conviction for vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular homicide or vehicular assault precludes you from getting a restricted license. Indeed, even if there were no charges, if a person died or suffered serious bodily harm due to your DUI, a restricted license is not allowed.

Restricted licenses are can may be denied for various other reasons, such as a violation that occurred in another state.

If a DUI violation in another state cannot be resolved, it would get in the way of getting a restricted license in Tennessee.

Given Chattanooga's proximity to Georgia and Alabama, this is a scenario that can easily arise here.

A restricted license application must address any requirement of ignition interlock use.

Tennessee now requires the installation of an ignition interlock device even after a first-offense DUI. In order to apply for a restricted license, you must show that you installed the device and use it according to specifications.

A restrictive license is not the same as a hardship license.

It can certainly create hardship, not being able to drive legally. But in Tennessee, a hardship license is essentially a way for teen drivers who are 14 or 15 to get certain driving privileges for work or school. This is not the same as a restricted license for those who have lost driving privileges because of DUI,

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