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No, red light camera tickets in Tennessee do not add points to your license

However, attorneys say you are required to pay the fine if an officer pulls you over and physically hands you a red light ticket.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — The issue of red light camera enforcement in Tennessee - and how it compares to getting a ticket from a police officer - continues to confuse people.

So, let's Verify.

THE QUESTION

Jakob Jenkins asked ABC24: "Is a red light camera ticket reported as a moving violation and adds points to your license?"

SOURCES

  • Tennessee state law
  • West Tennessee attorney Jere Mason, who specialized in defending traffic violations

THE ANSWER

This is false.

"In Tennessee, no, it's not a moving violation. It doesn't affect your license. And I think that's the first step that a lot of people need to look at when you get those tickets," Mason told ABC24.

Also, according to Tennessee state law, if you do not pay a red light camera ticket, not only does it not impact your driver's license points, it must also not adversely affect your credit score or car insurance rates.

"There's a disclaimer that by law now has to be on there, where it says, no, it's not going to affect your license. It doesn't affect your insurance. There's all these different checks where it shouldn't affect," Mason added.

THE QUESTION

That viewer also asked: "Does an officer need to physically hand you a ticket as a requirement to pay the fine?"

THE ANSWER

This is true.

"If an officer observes an infraction, stops a vehicle and gives them a citation, you are properly summoned to court and you have to go," Mason said.

The attorney added there's a major distinction in the potential penalty of getting a red light ticket in the mail versus being caught by an officer and handed a citation.

"If you are charged with a criminal offense, you can face not just fines but jail time," Mason said. "A civil penalty is just a fine. It can be a municipal fine, whatever, it's not supposed have any lasting effects on license, licensure, or any other follow up penalty."

Currently, there are red light cameras in more than a dozen communities across Tennessee, including Memphis and Millington in Shelby County. The City of Germantown disconnected its red light cameras several years ago.

If there's something you'd like us to check out and Verify, email us at verify@abc24.com.

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