Welcome to the Baker Associates Traffic Citation Series. These articles will address common questions regarding tickets and provide some guidance as to your options. There are a multitude of possible traffic violations, from speeding to improper lane change to reckless driving. The penalties will vary depending on the offense and your driving history. Before you request off work to attend traffic court, you should consider the other options available to you if your ticket was issued in Davidson County.
1. Pay the Fine
For most citations, you may be able to pay the fine without ever stepping foot in court. Paying the fine is an admission of guilt and will likely result in points on your driver’s license. If you are not familiar, Tennessee and many states will add points to your driver’s license for traffic violations. If you accumulate 12 or more points in a 12-month period in Tennessee, your license will be suspended. To do so, the State must send a notice of suspension to you and you will have the opportunity for a hearing. A suspension can last 6 to 12 months, but you may be eligible for a restricted license. Visit Schedule of Points Values (tn.gov) for more information regarding point values.
2. Sign Up for Traffic School
The second option is to sign up for traffic school if you are eligible. In Davidson County, contact the General Sessions Traffic School to determine eligibility and select a class. If you have priors or are charged with reckless driving, you may not be eligible for the shorter online course. However, you may still qualify for the in-person defensive driving class. Upon completion and payment of the class and administrative court costs, the case will be resolved, and no points will be added to your driver’s license. You must sign up for a class within 45 days of being issued the ticket.
Sign up online at Nashville General Sessions Traffic School, or mail in the traffic citation information sheet. If you do not have the information sheet you can find a copy at Microsoft Word - FAIS-1Traffic Citation Information Sheet_03142018.docx (nashville.gov). Call 615-862-8345 if you have questions or to determine whether you are eligible for traffic school.
If you select this option, DO NOT pay your traffic citation before signing up for school because doing so is an admission of guilt and you will incur points on your license.
3. Plead Not Guilty
The third option is to plead not guilty and contest the ticket. If you fill out the above-mentioned form and select the Plea Not Guilty box you will be given a court date, on which you will appear to argue your case in front of the judge and an attorney from Metro Legal. The Davidson County District Attorney’s Office does not handle traffic tickets. Depending on the facts of your case, it may be advisable to hire an attorney.
4. Nullifiable Offenses
Certain offenses, such as driving without a driver’s license, are nullifiable. This means the attorney and judge will nullify the offense if you come to court with documentation showing you are now in compliance with the law, i.e., you can demonstrate you do in fact have a driver’s license. Visit Davidson County Circuit Court Clerk (nashville.gov) for a list of nullifiable offenses.
The process for handling traffic tickets may vary depending on the county or even the law enforcement entity. For example, tickets issued by state troopers will be handled in a slightly different manner than tickets issued by MNPD. Visit the links below for more information.
Tennessee Traffic Citation Series
· Nashville Cracks Down on Drag Racing
· State Trooper Citations
· CDL Violations