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Tennessee REAL ID License and a DUI conviction

In addition to fines or jail time facing anyone convicted of a DUI (driving under the influence), the loss of driving privileges creates further headaches. A person who loses their driver’s license because of a DUI conviction means they lose the privilege of legally operating a motor vehicle – car, truck, or motorcycle.

Image of driving with alcohol resulting in DUI and loosing Real ID.

In this article we will talk about something called the REAL ID, its use, and the impact if you should lose your driving privileges. In 2023, federal law will require a specific form of identification to travel on domestic flights or enter federal buildings. This form of identification will be known as a REAL ID.

What Is REAL ID?

According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the REAL ID Act of 2005 was enacted to help establish minimum security standards for license issuance and production. As of May 3, 2023, a REAL ID license will be required for accessing certain Federal buildings, entering nuclear facilities, and boarding commercial flights within the United States.

The website adds that REAL IDs will not be required for uses including: voting, buying alcohol or cigarettes or applying for/receiving federal benefits, like Social Security or Veterans’ Benefits

A person will not need a REAL ID as a form of general identification and a REAL ID is not a substitute for a driver’s license. As long as your existing driver’s license remains valid, you can use it as your general identification. Any future driver’s licenses, however, will have to meet REAL ID requirements. So when you get your driving privileges back, you will need to meet these added requirements.

Challenges of Not Being Allowed to Drive

If you lose your driver’s license because of a DUI conviction then of course you can no longer drive a car, truck, or motorcycle – basically any motor vehicle. This penalty can cause you many problems and inconvenience. You can no longer simply hop in your car and travel freely as you once did. Even what used to be a quick errand, like picking up a missing ingredient for tonight’s dinner, will be a thing of the past. Every task will require planning. If your child has forgotten a class project due today or their uniform for after school match, you can’t just run it up to them quickly. This will disappoint your child and frustrate and sadden you.

If you used to drive to and from your place of employment, now you have to figure how to do that by bus, walking, Uber, or carpooling. Unfortunately many folks without a car will tell you that the ability to hold onto your job without reliable transportation can be difficult. Imagine having to add an additional hour onto your commute if you are tied to a bus schedule that maybe is not coordinated time wise with your work hours. Imagine if you had to pay for a taxi, Uber or Lyft on a daily basis or even if just once in awhile when you missed the last bus or simply need to get home at a certain time. Mass transportation outside of major cities in the US is simply not very convenient. Holding onto your employment with the added problem of not having a car at your disposal will be a major challenge.

Added to this, the new travel requirements that come with the REAL ID rollout, a person with a DUI conviction could find their ability to travel further hindered. The biggest one for most folks will be you can no longer use your drivers license as ID to board a flight. You will need a valid Passport or a REAL ID Tennessee identification card to board the plane.

Easy Solution, right? Just Get the REAL ID – Unfortunately Maybe Not So Easy

Federal law requires the first application for a REAL ID compliant credential is made in person. You’ll have to visit a service center or participating County Clerk’s office to apply for a new REAL ID. Again this task can be harder now if you’ve lost access to your primary form of transportation because of a DUI conviction.

And if you live in an area without public transportation, or if the existing public transportation proves late or unreliable, it can be very stressful trying to get where you need to go so you can get your Real ID or passport. What if the nearest place to get your passport or Tennessee Real ID is an hour or more away? You will have to figure a way to pay to get there by taxi or other rideshare option or ask a friend or family member to take you. If a friend or family member, will they have to miss school or work to take you?

Our point is that a DUI conviction can cause you more headaches than you can imagine. If you have been charged with a DUI, you need a rigorous defense. David Clarke has experience in defending his clients against such charges. Call (615) 796-6299 or contact us today.