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Memphis Traffic Lawyer

According to Tennessee Highway Patrol enforcement monitoring, state patrol officers issued 3,817 traffic citations in Shelby County in 2021, a steep decline from the 10,974 issued in 2018 and 10,632 in 2017. The number still translates to more than ten tickets per day, and you will want to contact a Memphis traffic lawyer if you receive a ticket in Tennessee.

While most traffic tickets are considered Class C misdemeanors, there can be circumstances in which citations result in more severe criminal charges. People should make every effort to fight to get dismissals of these tickets so they can keep their records clean and avoid impacting their car insurance rates.

Types of Traffic Offenses Our Memphis Traffic Lawyer Handles

Moving traffic violations in Tennessee and their assigned point values include all of the following:

Moving traffic violations

  • Speeding 1-5 mph in excess of speed zone – 1
  • Tickets and court abstractions in which speed was not indicated on source documents – 3
  • Speeding 6-15 mph in excess of speed zone – 3
  • Speed less than posted minimum – 3
  • Driving too fast for conditions or failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident – 3
  • Operating at an erratic or sudden changing speed – 3
  • Following improperly – 3
  • Following emergency vehicle unlawfully – 3
  • Making improper turn – 3
  • Failure to signal direction or reducing speed suddenly – 3
  • Stopping, standing, obstructing, or blocking traffic – 3
  • Coasting; operating gears disengaged – 3
  • Improper backing – 3
  • Improper starting, “burning rubber,” spinning tires, or peeling out – 3
  • Driver view or mechanism obstructed – 3
  • Driving mountain highway-controlled/audible warning – 3
  • Inability to maintain control – 3
  • Improper operation of or riding on a motorcycle – 3
  • Improper lane or location, driving on roadways laned for traffic – 3
  • Failure to drive carefully, inattentive driving, due care, unsafe lookout, or improper driving – 3
  • Miscellaneous traffic violations; any offense involving the unsafe operation of a non-commercial motor vehicle not specified – 3
  • Texting while driving – 3
  • Handheld device – 3
  • Speeding 16-25 mph in excess of speed zone – 4
  • Careless or negligent driving – 4
  • Failing to obey traffic instructions – 4
  • Improper passing – 4
  • Wrong-way, side, or direction – 4
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way – 4
  • Use of controlled access roadway – 4
  • Crossing private property to avoid stop sign or signal – 4
  • Failure to report a crash – 4
  • Speeding 26-35 mph in excess of speed zone – 5
  • Leaving the scene of a crash – 5
  • Speeding 36-45 mph in excess of speed zone – 6
  • Reckless driving – 6
  • Operating a motor vehicle while using a cell phone (under 18 years of age) – 6
  • Violation of driver’s license or certificate restrictions – 6
  • Speeding 46 mph or more in excess of speed zone – 8
  • Passing a stopped school bus, church bus, or youth bus taking on or discharging passengers – 8
  • Misdemeanor reckless endangerment by vehicle – 8
  • Failure to yield for emergency vehicles; Failure to change lanes/slow down for authorized vehicles on roadside – 6
  • Failure to stop at a railroad crossing – 8

Speeding in a Construction Zone (Non-Commercial Vehicles)

  • Speeding 1-5 mph in excess of posted speed – 2
  • Tickets and court abstracts in which speed not indicated – 4
  • Speeding 6-15 mph in excess of posted speed – 4
  • Speeding 16-25 mph in excess of posted speed – 5
  • Speeding 26-35 mph in excess of posted speed – 6
  • Speeding 36 mph or more in excess of posted speed – 8

Contributing to Occurrence of Accidents

  • Contributing to accidents involving property damage – 3
  • Contributing to accidents resulting in bodily injury – 4
  • Contributing to accidents resulting in another’s death – 8

Other Violations

  • Operating without a driver’s license in possession – 2
  • Operating without being properly licensed or without the license required for that type of vehicle operated – 3
  • Operating while a driver’s license required for the type of vehicle operated is under suspension, revocation, or cancellation – 8
  • Misdemeanor fleeing Law Enforcement Officer – 8
  • Misdemeanor Child Endangerment – 8

Commercial Vehicle Moving Traffic Violations

  • Speeding in a commercial vehicle when speed not indicated – 4
  • Speeding in a commercial vehicle, 1-5 mph in excess of posted speed zone – 2
  • Speeding in a commercial vehicle, 6-14 mph in excess of posted speed zone – 4
  • Excessive speeding in a commercial vehicle, 15-25 mph in excess of posted speed zone – 5
  • Excessive speeding in a commercial vehicle, 26-35 mph in excess of posted speed zone – 6
  • Excessive speeding in a commercial vehicle, 36 mph or more in excess of posted speed zone – 7
  • Speed less than posted minimum in a commercial vehicle – 4
  • Speeding in a commercial vehicle, speed not indicated in construction speed zone – 7
  • Speeding in a commercial vehicle, 1-5 mph in excess of posted construction speed zone – 3
  • Speeding in a commercial vehicle, 6-14 mph in excess of posted construction speed zone – 5
  • Excessive speeding in a commercial vehicle, 15-25 mph in excess of posted construction speed zone – 5
  • Excessive speeding in a commercial vehicle, 26-35 mph in excess of posted construction speed zone – 6
  • Excessive speeding in a commercial vehicle, 36 mph or more in excess of posted construction speed zone – 7
  • Reckless Driving – 7
  • Careless or negligent driving – 5
  • Improper passing – 4
  • Improper or erratic lane change – 5
  • Following improperly – 4
  • Failure to obey traffic instructions – 4
  • Wrong-way, side, or direction – 4
  • Passing stopped school bus, church bus, or youth bus taking on or discharging passengers – 8
  • Following emergency vehicle unlawfully – 3
  • Operating improperly due to drowsiness – 5
  • Miscellaneous traffic violations – 3
  • Failure to yield to emergency vehicles – 6
  • Violation of truck lane restriction – 3
  • Driving a commercial vehicle without a commercial driver’s license (CDL) – 8
  • Driving a commercial vehicle without a current CDL on person – 3
  • Driving a commercial vehicle without proper endorsement or class of commercial vehicle – 6
  • Conviction driving while disqualified or while canceled – 8
  • Texting while driving – 3
  • Handheld device – 3
  • Failure to yield – 4
  • Making improper turn – 4
  • Fail to signal direction – 4

Construction Zone/Hauling Hazardous Materials (Commercial Vehicle)

  • Speeding in a commercial vehicle, speed not indicated – 6
  • Speeding in a commercial vehicle, 1-5 mph in excess of posted speed zone – 3
  • Speeding in a commercial vehicle, 6-14 mph in excess of posted speed zone – 5
  • Excessive speeding in a commercial vehicle, 15-25 mph in excess of posted speed zone – 5
  • Excessive speeding in a commercial vehicle, 26-35 mph in excess of posted speed zone – 6
  • Excessive speeding in a commercial vehicle, 36 mph or more in excess of posted speed zone – 7
  • Speed less than posted minimum in a commercial vehicle – 5
  • Reckless driving – 8
  • Improper passing – 5
  • Improper or erratic lane change – 6
  • Following improperly – 5
  • Careless or negligent driving – 6
  • Failure to obey traffic instructions – 5
  • Wrong-way, side, or direction – 5
  • Failure to yield right of way – 5
  • Making improper turn – 5
  • Failure to signal direction – 4
  • Passing stopped school bus, church bus, or youth bus taking on or discharging passengers – 8
  • Following emergency vehicle unlawfully – 3
  • Conviction of driving while disqualified – 8
  • Miscellaneous traffic violations – 4
  • Texting while driving – 4
  • Handheld device – 4

Possible Criminal Penalties in Memphis

Under the Tennessee point system, a driver accumulates points on their license for every moving violation they commit, and an adult who accumulates 12 or more points on their driving record in a one-year period will receive a notification for a proposed suspension. They will have the opportunity to attend a hearing.

A teen driver who accumulates six to nine points in 12 months also faces a suspension for three to six months, but ten or more points will be a six-month suspension, and subsequent offenses can result in a six to 12-month suspension, depending on the record. Failure to attend a hearing can result in license suspension for periods ranging from six months to one year.

Attending a hearing can provide you with the opportunity to take a Defensive Driving Course, which can waive the license suspension or reduce the suspension period. Again, most traffic offenses in Tennessee are Class C misdemeanors, but there are exceptions in other cases.

Memphis Courts

Judge Patrick Dandridge is the presiding Judge for the Traffic & Environmental Court, General Sessions, Division 14. This court has traffic dockets daily at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on the second floor of 201 Poplar Avenue.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation With a Memphis Traffic Lawyer

Did you recently receive a traffic ticket in the greater Memphis area and Shelby County? You must get in touch with Pickford Law to achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your traffic case and minimize the damage to your traffic record.

Our firm knows how many complications a simple ticket can end up causing people, and we work to make sure you will not have to deal with any difficulties. You can feel free to call (901) 424-1920 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation so we can take a closer look at your case and recommend the next best steps to take.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I miss my compliance date or do not pay my ticket by that date?

Under Tennessee Code § 7-3-502, failure to satisfy a citation by the compliance date can result in a default judgment that will increase the amount a person owes and may also result in a civil fine or penalty, court costs, litigation taxes to the Metro Government; the issuance of execution and garnishment to collect the fine or penalty, costs, and taxes; and the issuance of a bench warrant for a person’s arrest for contempt of court, with a penalty of up to five days in jail and/or a fine of up to $10. Additionally, the Clerk’s Office will be required to report the failure to comply with the Department of Safety, which may result in the suspension of a person’s driver’s license. Tennessee Code § 20-12-144 allows the Clerk’s Office to retain the services of a collection agency if any portion of the fine or costs have not been paid within six months of the date of default.

What happens if I receive a ticket for failure to have proof of insurance and just pay the ticket?

If you receive a citation for not having proof of insurance in your vehicle and you did not have valid motor vehicle insurance in your name at the time the ticket was issued, the Clerk’s Office will not have the authority to nullify the offense. You will have to pay the fine or fee, along with any other fines or fees and court costs due on or before your compliance date. The Tennessee Department of Safety will suspend your driving privileges until you meet all of the requirements necessary for reinstatement by the Tennessee Department of Safety.

Do I need to have an attorney for a traffic court appearance?

Legal representation is not necessarily required, but it is certainly recommended. A lawyer generally costs about as much as paying the ticket anyway, so the cost can be negligible. You will also have somebody who is much better prepared to present the arguments in court for dismissal of any charges against you.

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