The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Notifying the Department of Safety

Reference Number: MTAS-312
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: September 06, 2017
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When a defendant fails to appear in court or satisfy a traffic citation before the court date, the clerk should notify the department of safety by completing a Court Action Report, either a hardcopy form or electronic submittal ( The disposition of the traffic case is then marked “Failed to Appear.”

The department of safety will first try to notify the defendant by mail that driving privileges will be suspended if the citation is not satisfied. If the department of safety does not receive notification that the citation has been satisfied, the defendant’s driving privileges will be suspended.

The municipal court is not required to send a warning letter to the violator. Some cities choose to do so as a courtesy to violators who may have merely forgotten about the citation and the court date.

The department of safety will not allow official correspondence to be forwarded. Licensed drivers are required by law to notify the Department of Safety of any address change, and people who move without notifying the department of the change of address will not receive the warning letter or the subsequent notification of suspension. The department of safety uses only the official address on the driver’s license, not any corrected address the violator may have given the officer at the time the citation was issued.

Sending a warning letter to the person's corrected address prior to notifying the department of safety of a Failure to Appear may prompt the defendant to satisfy the citation. Again, this notification from the municipal court is not required.