Ignition Interlock & DUI Laws in Tennessee

Like many states, Tennessee can imposes two types of suspensions on drivers after an arrest from a DUI. These two types of suspension are independent of one another, and you have to deal with both in order to regain your driving privileges.

  1. An administrative suspension, which happens immediately if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or over, or if you refuse a test
  2. Judicial: if you are convicted in court of DUI
  • Tennessee laws require the installation of ignition interlock devices for all DUI offenders. After serving a period of license revocation or suspension, you may be allowed to apply for a restricted license, which allows you to drive provided an interlock is installed in your vehicle.
  • If you fail your breath test your arresting officer will take your license and issue you a notice of revocation. This is your temporary driving permit, which allows you to drive for 10 days.  You can challenge your suspension within those 10 days.
  • If you do not choose to challenge your suspension, or if the hearing is not decided in your favor, the revocation stands. If this is your first or second offense, you may be eligible for a restricted license.
  • For third or subsequent offenses, you will not be eligible for a restricted license until your suspension is over.
  • If you are convicted of DUI in court, you face an additional license revocation period

DUI convictions in Tennessee carry fines, jail time, and can require attendance at DUI school and drug and alcohol assessment and/or treatment.

Steps to Regaining Your License in Tennessee

Tennessee ignition interlock laws require that any driver convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) must install an ignition interlock device, including an electronic log device, on every vehicle they own or which is registered to them. [more]

Here’s how to get back on the road after a DUI in Tennessee – quickly, safely and legally.

In order to drive after you have been suspended you need to obtain a restricted license. Requirements for obtaining your license vary depending on the specific offense. You can obtain specific information here but general information is below.

  1. You must obtain a certified order from the court where you were convicted that says that you are eligible for a restricted license
  2. Make an appointment to have your ignition interlock installed by calling toll-free 800-634-3077
  3. Have the interlock installed
  4. Within 10 days of receiving the certified order from the court you must present the original and a copy of the order to your local Driver Services Center
  5. Submit proof of a valid Tennessee SR22 insurance policy
  6. Pass the driver’s exam
  7. Pay a $67 fee. You can also pay this fee online
  8. That’s it! You’re good to go. But remember…
  9. Come in for regular monitoring. This is essential for proper maintenance of the program as well as a condition for keeping your restricted license

LifeSafer Ignition Interlock of Tennessee

LifeSafer offers complete installation and monitoring on a wide range of vehicles to help you maintain compliance with Tennessee DUI conviction restrictions. Find interlock locations in TN, including Nashville, Chattanooga, Columbia and Murfreesboro.

Get your license back in Tennessee after a DUI

In order for your time with an ignition interlock device to count toward your requirement, you MUST have a restricted driver license. If you are required under T.C.A. 55-10-417 to complete an additional six (6) month requirement for two (2) DUI convictions within five (5) years, that time WILL NOT begin until you have reinstated your driving privileges and been reissued a restricted driver license.

How do I get an interlock license?

  • Once you are convicted of a DUI offense, request a restricted license/ignition interlock device from the Court.  The Judge signs the Order for Restricted License (ORDL).

  • Call LifeSafer Ignition Interlock at 800-634-3077.  Ask about discounts and special offers.  You may drive on the ORDL for a maximum of 10 days, allowing you time to have an ignition interlock device installed.

  • Once your ignition interlock device has been installed, allow forty-eight (48) hours for LifeSafer to electronically submit the proof of installation and have it post to your account in the Driver Services database before going to the Driver Services Office. Driver Services cannot accept a paper copy of your installation report from you.

  • Take the original certified court order and a copy to a Driver Services Center to obtain a restricted license. The Driver Services Center will also require proof of interlock installation to have been submitted to electronically and an  SR-22 certificate (your insurance company can help with this). When you apply, you will be issued a 90-day restricted interim driver license. The application is then sent to the Driver Services Central Office for review and a final determination.    

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