US Automotive Window Tint Laws by State 2020/2021
Tint laws vary quite heavily from state to state. For those looking to have their car's windows tinted, an all-in-one guide can be quite helpful to assist them in making a decision. Here we've put together a collection of window tint laws in all fifty states for the convenience of drivers. Enjoy!
Benefits of Tint
Car owners choose to have window tint installed for many reasons including health conditions, heat reduction, aesthetic value and privacy. In some warmer states with more sun like Arizona and California, it's darn near necessary! In addition to this, if you're someone with a health condition that would require darker tint than what is legally available, it is actually possible to obtain a doctor's note and exemption that will allow darker tint to be installed.
The main drawback to heavier tint is decreased visibility. Darker tint has the potential to impair your driving in certain conditions, such as during the night. Law enforcement officers will also have a harder time seeing in your car with heavier tint. It's always a good idea to check the legality of your desired tint before having it installed, and this approach will help avoid any unnecessary interactions with the law.
Below is a table outlining the tint laws regarding all windows, allowed reflectivity, and additional restrictions for each state.
What does tint "percentage" mean?
Tint is measured by the amount of light that is able to pass through it. Tint percentage is the percentage of light that travels through the film. A higher percentage means that the tint is lighter and lower percentage means the tint is darker. The amount you are able to legally have varies from state to state and varies depending on which windows it is on.
As you can see, there are quite a variety of tint, reflectivity and other restrictions that each state enforces. While some of these restrictions are straightforward, some of them are actually pretty difficult to enforce. For example, officers don't typically carry reflectivity meters. This means that even if you're over the legal limit, there's a good chance you can get off without a ticket or contest it in court.
Can I be pulled over for tinted windows?
Sometimes, since the laws vary from state to state. In some areas, police will be on the lookout for those with tint darker than the legal limit. Most officers actually do carry tint meters to measure the tint percentage of your windows. It's always better to just stay within legal boundaries, as the penalty for heavy tint is rarely worth the look.
Something else that is important to keep in mind is the vehicle's light transmission from factory. Many automakers manufacture their vehicles with a certain amount of light-blocking ability in the windows (usually 70-80%). Ask your tint company about this when having window film installed, since it is important to factor into the final tint percentage.