Window Tint Percentage Laws In The US By State

Can I put window tint on my front windshield?

Yes, it is possible to tint your front windshield, however, there are strict window tinting laws that you need to follow. These vary by State (we provide more detail below) but due to tight regulations, we highly recommend having your windshield tinted by a recognized professional who understands the nuances of the State laws.

There are also laws regarding window tint on your rear window and side windows, however, these are not as strict as those pertaining to your front windshield. To learn more about tinting the rear and side windows, check out our most popular resources:

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Front window tint strip law

The ‘eyebrow’ (the little strip on the car’s windshield) is also permitted as long as it meets your state’s laws. These small front window tint strips ensure that the driver has enough visibility of their surroundings. While on the road, you can get some protection from the sun. Some state laws also prohibit the installation of windows that are not tinted which results in some specified degree of light reflection. Front window tint strip laws vary by state so please refer to the chart above to see if it is allowed in your state.

Different Forms of Window Tinting

Your state’s vehicle code may consider "window tinting" to include:

  • Heat-shrinking a tinted sheet of film to a vehicle’s windshield or window, usually on the inside surface of the glass. This is generally done after-market.
  • "Shade bands," usually meaning a thin, horizontal strip of tint at the top of a vehicle’s windshield, where it meets the vehicle roof.
  • Sunscreen devices that are temporarily affixed to the inside surface of a vehicle’s windshield, side windows, or rear window. This is often a plastic shade device on a passenger side window, held in place with suction cups).

Most state laws on vehicle window tinting are concerned with the levels of "light transmittance" or "luminous reflectance" that the vehicle’s safety glass allows. This means how much light can get through and how much visibility the glass allows.

So, illegally tinted windows allow an amount of light to come through that is below the amount identified under state law (i.e., 75% light transmittance). When the police spot this, they will pull you over and say the vehicle does not comply with the state’s vehicle code. They will issue you a citation.

Many state vehicle codes contain different light transmittance requirements for the vehicle’s front windshield when compared with standards for the vehicle’s side and rear windows.

Finally, most state vehicle codes specify that no vehicle windshield or window may have opaque or mirrored material or "one-way" glass.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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How much visible light transmission (VLT) is allowed?

Again, this is something that will vary according to your State, however, it is common to have up to 80% visible light transmission (VLT) on windshield tints. This means that 80% of visible light can penetrate the glass. The lower the percentage, the darker your window tint will be.

There are certain films used for tinting windows that are virtually clear, such as ceramic film. You can still see clearly inside or outside of your vehicle so it is safe to drive, and you can see clearly day or night.

Can one get pulled over for having tinted windows?

The answer is, sometimes. It is entirely dependent on the state one is in and the laws that govern that state. Many states have legalized some degree of tinting. Tinting done in the lines of these laws is permitted so you would not get pulled over. If the tint laws that are in place are not followed, you may be subject to being pulled over. In other states, tinting is entirely illegal. Any form of illegal tinting would attract negative attention from law enforcement. You need to understand and follow the laws of your state, as they do vary.

State window tint laws

No matter where your AS1 line is, you still need to know the tint laws in your state. There’s no Federal ruling on windshield window tint. It’s all handled state by state, and tint restrictions can vary greatly from one to the next. Most states allow darker tints on your windshield, as long as the tint is above the windshield’s AS1 line. In a number of states, the AS1 line doesn’t matter at all. Tint may only extend 4 to 6 inches from the top of the windshield, though it can often still be as dark as you like. Some states don’t allow any tint of any darkness or type on the windshield, at all. Others require a medical exemption for full or even partial windshield tinting. Only two states — Ohio and North Dakota — allow you to tint the entire windshield, but it has to be 70 percent or lighter. If your car was originally sold in either of these states, have the windshield’s light transmission checked before purchasing tint. It might have come from the factory or dealership with tinted glass or the darkest permissible aftermarket tint.

No matter where you live, find out your state’s specific tint laws before assuming anything. Sites like the AAA put together lists that lend a bit more transparency to your state’s window tint laws.

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