What To Do After a Tennessee Speeding Ticket

A speeding ticket can raise your insurance rates by an average of 30.4% in Tennessee. Shopping for new rates should be your first step after paying your fine.
Written by Kornelia Drianovski
Edited by Jessica Barrett
A speeding ticket in the state of
carries fines between $40 to $150, along with one to eight demerit points on your Tennessee
driving record
. You can pay the fine and take on a potential 30.4%
car insurance
increase, or you can dispute it in court. 

2 steps to deal with a speeding ticket in Tennessee

Step 1: Decide whether to pay or fight the traffic ticket
If you prepay your ticket, you’re essentially entering a guilty plea to speeding and whatever applicable demerit points will be deducted from your Tennessee driving record.  
Step 2: Shop for car insurance before your next renewal
Your auto insurance company will only find out about your speeding ticket when your policy is up for renewal—but your rates will go up by an average of 30.4% when your policy renews.

How to pay your Tennessee traffic ticket

Unless your ticket requires a court appearance, pleading guilty or no contest is the fastest way of dealing with your speeding ticket. But that means paying your fine and receiving a conviction and demerit points on your driving record.
You can pay your ticket fine at any time before the listed due date using the following payment options:1
  • Online: Different counties will have their own official websites. Typically, you’ll be able to find a “Pay Online” button under their “Traffic Ticket” section. Have your ticket number, issuance date, driver’s license number, name, and date of birth ready. 
  • By mail: Many counties will permit you to mail a check to their official address.  
  • In person: If you prefer paying your traffic ticket in person, you can visit your local county clerk’s office. 
Pro Tip Check your ticket for more information on your payment options—including the web address for online payments. If you have any questions about the payment process, contact the presiding traffic court listed on your ticket.

How to get a speeding ticket dismissed

If you feel you received your speeding ticket by mistake, you can appear on your court date to dispute the ticket. The most effective arguments for getting a speeding ticket dismissed include: 

How to get a speeding ticket dismissed

If you feel you received your speeding ticket by mistake, you can appear on your court date to dispute the ticket. The most effective arguments for getting a speeding ticket dismissed include: 
Defective radar or officer error: If you can prove that your ticket was issued due to malfunctioning traffic cameras or improper use of radar, it could be dismissed.
Defective speedometer: If you didn’t know that you were speeding because your vehicle’s speedometer was broken, you may be able to get your ticket dismissed.
Medical emergencies: If you were speeding due to a medical emergency, the court may grant you a dismissal. 
Keep in mind: Your speeding ticket is more likely to get dismissed if you’ve maintained a clean driving history with no previous traffic violations.
Not knowing Tennessee’s speeding laws is not a good speeding ticket defense. Whether you’re an out-of-state or first-time Tennessee driver, don’t try to fight your ticket by claiming ignorance. 

Calculate your Tennessee speeding ticket penalties

When you get a speeding ticket in Tennessee, you’ll face two main types of penalties: 
Fines & fees: Tennessee will fine you anywhere between $40 and $150 for driving over the speed limit, with fines and court costs reaching the high end of the range if you exceed the speed limit in a school zone or construction zone. Moreover, some municipalities, like
, are cracking down on speeding and implementing $500 fines. 
Demerit points: Depending on how much over the speed limit you were going, you’ll have one to eight points deducted from your driving record. These demerits stay on your record for two years. 
If your speeding ticket is actually a reckless driving charge or misdemeanor, you could face jail time on top of costly fines. Finally, if you accumulate more than 12 demerit points in a 12-month period, the Tennessee Department of Safety could suspend your license and revoke your driving privileges (unless you attend an administrative hearing).2

The Tennessee speeding ticket point system3

Speeding offense
# of demerit points
# of years on driving record
1 - 5 mph over posted limit
1 point
2 years
6 - 15 mph over posted limit
3 points 
2 years
16 - 25 miles over posted limit
4 points 
2 years
26 - 35 miles over posted limit
5 points 
2 years
36 - 45 miles over posted speed limit
6 points
2 years
46 miles over posted speed limit
8 points
2 years

Your insurance will go up after a speeding ticket—here’s how to lower it

Speeding tickets carry long-term costs beyond your initial fines and processing fees. Car insurance is the most important: in Tennessee, drivers see their auto insurance premiums go up by an average of 30.4% after a single speeding ticket. 
Once you’ve paid your fine, it’s time to take action to keep your insurance rates affordable. Here’s how. 

1. Check your renewal date and comparison shop

Your car insurance premium won’t increase until your policy renewal, so the first thing you should do is check your policy details for your next renewal date. If it’s months away, that’s good news: you’ll keep paying your current rate for the time being! 
When you receive a renewal notice from your insurance company, take note of your renewal rate. It should include a surcharge for your speeding ticket, which your insurer will have noted from your most recent
motor vehicle report (MVR)
app screenshot
With your renewal rate in hand, compare car insurance quotes from other providers to see if any of them offer a lower rate for drivers with speeding tickets.
To do this quickly, you can use the
app and review personalized offers from multiple insurers at once. 
Don’t forget to reshop often once you have the best rate. As your Tennessee driving record changes following a speeding ticket, you should gradually become eligible for lower rates.
app screenshot
If you purchase car insurance through the Jerry app, you’ll be able to keep up to date with those rate decreases by turning on automatic reshops—so your insurance premium always reflects the best version of your driving record. 

2. Take a driver improvement course

Tennessee allows drivers to enroll in a
4-hour traffic school course
for the opportunity to remove 5 points from their driving record for a speeding conviction. The course must be completed within 90 days of the speeding conviction. Upon successful completion, the points will be removed—but the conviction itself stays.
Note: This course can only be completed for one speeding conviction in a four-year span. 

3. Take advantage of discounts

In addition to adding surcharges to your policy, a speeding ticket can break your clean driving streak and remove any good driver discounts you may have had on your policy. But there are other
car insurance discounts
that could help you save, including: 
Telematics discounts (i.e., tracking your driving)
Good student discounts
Paid-in-full discounts
Responsible payer discounts
Low-mileage discounts

When are insurance companies notified of speeding tickets?

Your insurance company won’t learn about your speeding ticket
until your policy is up for renewal
. That’s when insurers review your motor vehicle report for any new traffic infractions. 
If your renewal date is a week away, expect your rate to increase then. If it’s in six months, you will keep paying your current rate until the renewal. 

The best car insurance companies after a speeding ticket in Tennessee

Here’s how major insurance companies tend to handle rate renewals after a speeding ticket: 
Insurance company
Average rate increase after a speeding ticket
American Family
State Farm
Remember: Every auto insurance provider deals with traffic offenses differently. Depending on your existing driving record, the number of years you’ve been with your insurer, and whether or not you plead guilty to your speeding ticket, your insurance premium could go up by less—or more—than this table shows. 
Where’d we get these numbers? To find the average rate increase after a speeding ticket in every state, Jerry’s editorial team researched the average rate increase after a speeding ticket using expert sources from Forbes, NerdWallet, ValuePenguin, WalletHub, Liberty Mutual, The Zebra, and CarInsurance.com. We averaged the rate increase data from these sources and applied it to average rate data derived from thousands of real quotes drivers found through Jerry to determine average premium drivers pay after a speeding ticket in each state.
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How much is a speeding ticket in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, the cost of a speeding ticket will vary by county and severity of the speeding. On average, though, you can expect to be fined anywhere between $40 and $150, although fines could reach $500 in some municipalities.

Is 20 mph over considered reckless driving in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, there isn’t a specific threshold of speed that qualifies as reckless driving. Generally, driving over the speed limit by 30 mph can lead to a reckless driving charge, resulting in a class B misdemeanor conviction. This offense carries the potential penalties of a maximum six-month jail sentence and a fine of $500.

Will I lose my license if I don’t fight a speeding ticket?

One speeding ticket should not result in a license suspension or revocation. That said, a history of speeding, other traffic violations, or failing to pay your ticket fine on time may change that.

Should I fight or pay for my speeding ticket?

Contesting your ticket in court is only recommended if you have the evidence and witnesses to prove your innocence.
Attending a state-approved defensive driving program can remove a speeding ticket and the associated conviction and points from your record. If fighting the ticket isn’t likely to succeed, this is a great alternative.

What if I can’t afford to pay my speeding ticket?

If the speeding ticket fine is more than you can afford on your budget, don’t worry/ Based on your financial situation, you may be eligible for a payment plan. Contact the traffic court listed on your ticket for more information and the application process.
Under no circumstances should you ignore your ticket or avoid paying your fine. Missing the plea date on your ticket will result in a default judgment, a possible suspension of your driver’s license, and a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.

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