Drivers throughout the state enjoy customizing their vehicles in various ways, including tinting their windows. Window tint is more than just a cosmetic adjustment to a vehicle, however. Tinting windows can provide privacy inside your vehicle and reduce the impact of the sun while driving. Proper tint can also help vehicles remain cooler by limiting light transmission into the vehicle. However, if you plan to tint your vehicle’s windows, you must know the state’s window tinting laws.
California Window Tint Law

Different Tinting Laws for Different Vehicle Windows

A standard vehicle has a front and rear windshield and windows at the front and rear of the vehicle on each side. California’s tinting law assigns specific standards for each vehicle’s windows to ensure maximum visibility when a tint is applied:

  • The front windshield of the vehicle may only have tint applied to the top four inches of the windshield. This will prevent the window tint from impeding the driver’s front view out of their vehicle while providing a thin strip that can help to block direct sun from in front of the driver.
  • Side windows on the front driver’s side door and front passenger’s side door may have tint up to 30%, meaning they must allow for at least 70% light transmission.
  • Side windows on the driver’s side and passenger’s side may have any level of tint, and this rule applies to the vehicle’s rear windshield as well.

If you plan to have your vehicle’s windows tinted, it is likely that the service provider applying the tint will explain these requirements to you. If a service provider does not mention the state’s tint restrictions, it is vital to clarify this issue before paying for a tint application; otherwise, you may need to spend more money later to have the tint adjusted after a tint ticket.

A police officer may conduct a traffic stop if they notice a vehicle that appears to have a tint exceeding the state’s limits. The officer will use a tint meter to measure the light transmission through the window, and if the meter reads less than 70% light transmission, they will issue a tint ticket. This ticket will usually entail a $25 fine for the first offense, and the driver will be ordered to have their window tint adjusted within a specific timeframe. If they fail to have the tint adjusted within this time and they are pulled over again, they face harsher penalties, including a traffic infraction with a heavier fine.

Ultimately, if you plan to have tint applied to your vehicle’s windows, it is essential to ensure that the tint complies with California law. If you purchase a used vehicle that has tinted windows, the seller should be able to provide proof of the tint’s compliance. If a driver causes an accident due to restricted visibility from excessive tint and has been issued a tint ticket but fails to have the tint adjusted as required, they can face penalties beyond their liability for the damages they caused.


Q: Is 35% Window Tint Legal?

A: Technically, 35% window tint is legal only on a vehicle’s rear windows. State law restricts window tint to no more than 30% for the vehicle’s front windows. The front windows must allow for 70% light transmission, otherwise the owner of the vehicle can face a fine and will need to pay for having the tint adjusted.

Q: What Is the Darkest Tint You Can Have on Your Vehicle Windows?

A: State law upholds different tint limits for the different windows on a vehicle. For the front windshield, tint is restricted to the top four inches of the windshield. On the vehicle’s front side windows, tint must allow for 70% light transmission, so 30% tint is the maximum. For the vehicle’s side rear windows, any level of tint is allowed, and this applies to the rear windshield as well.

Q: How Much Is a Tint Ticket?

A: If you are found driving a vehicle in violation of the vehicle window tint law, the first offense carries a penalty of $25 and an order to have the tint adjusted to compliance. For a second offense, the driver can face a penalty of about $200 and an infraction. If you have been ticketed for window tint, it is vital that you make an appointment to have your window tint adjusted as soon as possible to avoid further, harsher penalties beyond the first ticket.

Q: Can Window Tint Cause an Accident?

A: Much of the reasoning behind the window tint law is that excessively dark tint limits a driver’s vision and increases the risk of an accident. If a window is tinted too darkly, this can prevent the driver from noticing important details around them. Compliance with the window tint law is imperative not only to avoid tint tickets and associated penalties but also to limit your risk of facing liability for an accident caused by restricted visibility.

Q: How Do I Prove Fault for a Car Accident?

A: If you believe another driver is responsible for causing your recent car accident, it is very important that you consult with an experienced Orange County Car Accident Lawyer as soon as possible to have the optimal chance of maximizing your recovery. Your attorney can help secure traffic camera recordings, eyewitness statements, cell phone records, and other evidence to help prove fault for your recent accident.

The attorneys at Easton & Easton have years of professional experience handling a wide range of vehicle accident claims, and we know the various challenges you could face in the aftermath of an accident another driver caused. If you are unsure how to proceed with your recovery from a car accident, or if you suspect another driver’s illegal window tint could have played a role in the accident, we can help determine your most viable options for recovery. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with our team and learn how we can assist with your recovery.