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Juvenile Traffic Offenders

Reference Number: MTAS-304
Reviewed Date: 12/20/2021

Juvenile Traffic Offenders
Generally, all cases involving juveniles are reserved for the juvenile court, and city courts have no original jurisdiction over juveniles, including cases involving traffic violations. All juvenile traffic offenders must, therefore, be tried in juvenile court, absent a waiver by the judge. T.C.A. § 37-1-103. The judge of a juvenile court for the county may waive jurisdiction over traffic violators who are 16 years of age or older. If the juvenile court judge waives jurisdiction, the city court can try those juvenile traffic cases. T.C.A. § 37-1-146(c) and §16-18-302(d).

If the court finds the juvenile to be guilty of a traffic offense, the court may make one or any combination of the following decisions:
1. Suspend the juvenile’s driver's license;
2. Limit the juvenile’s driving privileges;
3. Order the juvenile to attend traffic school or to receive driving instructions; and/or
4. Impose a fine of not more than $50.
5. Perform community service work in lieu of a fine. T.C.A. §37-1-146(b)

Note: Item 5 was added to T.C.A. §37-1-146(b) in 2016, per Public Chapter 600. City courts may not have authority to impose item 5.