What are Tennessee Public Traffic Records?
In Tennessee, public traffic records are official documents that contain a person's traffic or driving history, including any violations, license suspensions, or assessed penalties. These records are typically a compilation of different record types generated by different departments or government agencies.
Are Traffic Records Public in Tennessee?
Yes, traffic records are public in Tennessee, and the state's Open Records Act guarantees public access to records generated and maintained by all public government agencies. Additionally, interested members of the public may view public records without presenting written requests or any fees, except where otherwise stated by law.
What do Tennessee Traffic Records Contain?
Tennessee traffic records contain information such as:
- License suspensions and revocations
- Driving status
- Traffic violations
- Date of birth
- Driver's license number
- Driver's name
- Any out-of-state traffic violations
Does a Citation Go on Your Record in Tennessee?
Yes, traffic citations go on a person's record in Tennessee. However, one must note that not all citations go on a person's record. Non-moving traffic violations such as parking violations may not go on an offender's record. This is because such violations are considered infractions and do not typically involve the risk of harm to another person or damage to their property.
On the other hand, moving violations carry a greater risk of harm or damage and are therefore considered more serious. These violations yield points on an offender's driver's license and go on the offender's driving record.
Types of Traffic Citations in Tennessee
Law enforcement agents issue citations for violations of traffic laws, which could be civil or criminal violations. The type of traffic citation issued depends on the nature or type of the offense. In Tennessee, there are three (3) major types of traffic citations issued in Tennessee:
- Citations: these types of tickets must be paid within 15 days of receipt. The recipient may choose to attend a hearing on the date specified on the ticket. However, should the recipient fail to pay the citation within 15 days of receipt, additional fines may be assessed at the hearing.
- Summons: this type of ticket is signed by the offender on receipt and must be paid within ten (10) days. If the ticket is marked mandatory, the offender must appear in court and may choose not to sign the ticket. However, if the ticket is not marked mandatory, the offender may choose to attend a scheduled hearing, but should the offender fail to appear, the court may issue a default judgment against the offender. If the offender fails to pay the ticket within 30 days, the court may order the person's license suspended.
- Red light camera tickets: cities and municipalities in Tennessee install and operate automatic red-light systems to enforce traffic regulations. Violators receive red light camera tickets.
Tennessee Traffic Citation Lookup
Any person interested in looking up traffic citations may visit local police departments or the court in the county where the traffic violation occurred. Traffic tickets issued by state and local law enforcement officers are entered through the courts, including those for major and minor traffic offenses. Therefore, interested parties may look up traffic citations by visiting or sending a request to the appropriate Circuit or Traffic Court clerk.
Cities like Memphis have a Traffic Violations Bureau, and interested parties may look up traffic citations at the bureau. Some counties provide websites where interested parties may look up traffic citations using citation numbers, vehicle information, driver's license, or social security number. Interested parties must contact the appropriate city or county court directly to find available look-up methods.
How to Lookup my Tennessee Traffic Records
Persons interested in looking up Tennessee traffic records may request their driving record, also called a Moving Violation Report (MVR) in Tennessee, from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Interested parties may request online, by mail, or in person at local driver services centers.
Interested parties may request their MVRs online through Driver Services. However, users must have the name, social security number, driver's license number, and birth date of the record subject. There is a $5 fee that can be paid through check cards or credit cards, and prepaid cards are not accepted.
It is also possible to make in-person requests for MVRs. Interested parties may simply visit driver services centers and present required information, including names, driver's license numbers, and birth dates. The request fee is $5. To authorize a third party to request an MVR on another person's behalf in person, the record owner must submit a notarized statement to the department.
MVR requests sent by mail must include the $5 payment in money order or cashier's check payable to the Tennessee Department of Safety. The request must also include the birth date, driver's license number, and driver's name. Mail requests may take up to two (2) weeks to process.
The MVR shows three (3) to ten (10) years of an offender's driving history. The records do not display the subject's address or any personal identifying information from vehicle registration and driver's license records. As provided by the Federal Driver Privacy Protection Act, interested parties must make special requests for their records to be open.
Tennessee traffic case records may also be available from third-party websites since they are considered public records. Unlike government sources or websites, third-party websites do not have geographical limitations. Hence, interested parties may access these websites from anywhere in the world. However, some third-party websites may require registration or subscription to access traffic record
Tennessee Traffic Violations
A Tennessee traffic violation is an offense that occurs while operating a vehicle on a public road. These offenses can range from minor infractions, such as parking tickets, to major offenses, such as DUI or reckless driving. Some traffic violations are considered criminal offenses, while others are classified as civil offenses.
In most cases, a traffic violation will result in a fine or points being added to the motorist's driver's license. The amount and the number of points added will vary depending on the offense. More serious crimes will typically result in higher fines and more points. Repeated traffic violations can lead to suspended or revoked licenses.
Tennessee License Plate Lookup
Tennessee traffic records also include license plate information, which helps identify vehicles and their owners and track down traffic offenders and defaulters.
In Tennessee, license plate lookup is available through the Tennessee Department of Safety. Interested parties can request a search by plate number, and the department will provide them with a list of all tickets and accidents associated with that plate. Users can also search by vehicle make, model, and year.
The Tennessee Department of Safety also offers several other services, including online driver's license renewals and vehicle registration renewals.
How to View Traffic Case Records for Free in Tennessee
To view traffic case records for free in Tennessee, interested parties may visit the courthouse where the case was originally filed or heard. Court Clerks maintain case records, and as mandated by state laws, make them available to interested members of the public on request. In-person records access is typically free. Requesting parties may also use public access terminals at courthouses to view traffic case records for free.
Another way to view traffic case records for free in Tennessee is to use the state judiciary's Public Case History Search. This website allows users to search the public database using case number, case party name, and case type. To conduct successful record searches, requesting parties must enter the required details into the appropriate fields.
The public database only contains information about cases filed after September 1, 2006. Interested parties may visit the State Library and Archives to view case records for older cases. The service is free to use, but requesting parties are advised to plan their visits by contacting the library beforehand.
Some counties and other local government authorities offer case dockets online for public access. Hamilton is an example of such counties, and it posts criminal court dockets online every Thursday.
How Long do Traffic Offenses Remain on a Public Record in Tennessee
Traffic offenses remain on public records in Tennessee for up to five (5) years after a conviction or until such records are expunged or sealed. Some traffic offenses also result in points assessed on the offender's driver's license or driving record. These points stay active on an offender's record for two (2) years. After two years, the points become inactive and no longer count towards license suspensions in Tennessee. However, interested parties may take defensive driving courses to reduce points on their driving records.
In Tennessee, traffic offenses that are not eligible for expungement or sealing remain an offender's public records indefinitely. Records of traffic offenses affect road users in many ways, including increased insurance premiums. Additionally, persons with offenses on their public records may not be able to access some employment, housing, or education opportunities, depending on the nature or severity of the offense.
How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in Tennessee
To remove traffic records from public websites in Tennessee, interested parties may petition the court to expunge or seal such records. The expungement process removes and destroys records, making them inaccessible to unauthorized persons. Expunged records are no longer available as public records. However, it is important to note that expungement only applies to criminal traffic records, such as records of misdemeanor and non-violent felony traffic offenses. Thus, traffic infractions are not eligible for expungement in Tennessee. Additionally, expungements in Tennessee do not apply to arrest records. Also, it is impossible to expunge records of DUIs.
Another way to remove traffic records from public websites is to obtain a proxy address such as a P.O.Box and a contact number. Record subjects may then update personal records with the Court Clerk. Although this does not completely remove a person's traffic records from public websites, it protects personal information and thereby gives the subject of the record a measure of privacy.
Some third-party websites provide opt-out processes for persons who wish to have personal information removed from such websites. Alternatively, some websites offer opt-out services at a price. These websites help individuals opt out of third-party or public websites that list their traffic records. It is important to note that only expungement, sealing, or court orders can keep a person's traffic record from government websites.
Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Records in Tennessee?
Yes, motoring offenses affect criminal records in Tennessee. There are two main categories of motoring offenses: civil and criminal motoring offenses. The former has little to no effect on offenders' criminal records, while the latter does affect criminal records. Civil motoring offenses are minor and mostly include non-moving traffic violations. Examples include parking violations and forging permits. These motoring offenses involve little risk of harm or injury to other persons or their property and sometimes do not yield points on the offender's driving record. Civil traffic violations do not affect criminal records in Tennessee.
On the other hand, criminal motoring offenses involve the risk of injury or harm to other persons or their property. These offenses are classified as misdemeanors or felony crimes, depending on the severity of the offense. Criminal motoring offenses affect an offender's criminal record as they are treated as both motoring offenses and criminal offenses. These offenses remain on an offender's criminal record and driving record even after any accumulated points become inactive.
Like other criminal offenses, criminal motoring offenses can result in imprisonment, fines, license suspensions, and loss of certain rights. Examples of criminal motoring offenses include vehicular homicide or repeated DUI offenses.