Like many California statutes, the law on window tints is more verbose and boring than your junior college math instructor. But I’ll try to some of it down for you into a few bite-sized takeaways.
Rule #1: The law begins by saying you can’t put any crap on your windows. No stickers, no tint, no colors, no nothin’. Also, you can’t put anything inside your car that would obstruct your “clear view” through any of your windows. You can probably still keep your Lindsay Lohan bobble head on the dash, depending on how short you are … and I’ve seen some of you shorties driving down the freeway struggling to see over the steering wheel – no bobble head for you!
Rule #2: There are a crap-ton of exceptions! Is the tint located on your side windows, and does it allow a minimum of 88% light transmittance? Do you have a doctor’s note for your window tint? Do you have a certificate stating that the manufacturer installed the tint in compliance with California law? If your window tint has bubbles in it – no tint for you! And there are many more exceptions (see VC 26708 (b)1 – 13).
Rule #3: Remember you are not alone if you feel like it is impossible to comply with California’s window tint law. You may be wondering how in the hell you can even measure window tint. Believe it or not, there are window tint meters. It’s what the cops use. Probably your homies who installed your window tint for you have one too.
Rule #4: There are some decent arguments you can present in court to fight window tint tickets, assuming: (1) you don’t want to pay the $150 – $200 ticket and just keep them as is (but this doesn’t fix the problem because you’re at risk for getting another ticket), and (2) you don’t want to pay to have the tint removed, go to the police station to get an official proof of correction, and then bring that proof of correction to the court for a $25 dismissal fee.
First of all, the cop may not show up at your trial, and ka-pow! You won (although some courts will still try and make you pay the $25 dismissal fee). Secondly, if the officer shows up and the vehicle doesn’t belong to you, you can ask the officer to consider the ticket to be the owner’s responsibility. Just today in fact I had a trial on a so-called “correctable violation.” It wasn’t for tinted windows but it was for a broken tail light. I convinced the officer to dismiss it because the vehicle was registered to the driver’s mother. This argument doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a shot. As a preventative measure, you can ask the cop to treat the ticket as the owner’s responsibility at the time you’re pulled over and then you may not have to go to court in the first place.
And there’s several other arguments a skilled traffic lawyer can make for you, so make sure you consult an attorney if you decide to fight a ticket like this. Also, you can like our firm on Facebook if you’d like to stay aware of future blog posts like this. Until next time!