A Complete Guide about California Window Tint Law

Are you curious about the update on California window tint law? If you drive in California, you must know the latest updates about the tinting laws. People in California are fond of decorating their vehicles with new styles like stickers, tinting, and other accessories.

Tinting the windows with styles is common. But, if you are going to upgrade your windshield with tints, read this blog before doing so. In this blog, you will get detailed information about California window tint law, the penalties for violating the law, and the exemptions for this law. Furthermore, your car decorator applying tints to your windows will also tell you about the rules. These vehicle workers know more about the permits for tint applications.

What is California Window Tint Law?

According to the California window tint law, the vehicle owner can apply tints on the windshield, side, and rear windows. You can only cover 3 to 4 inches of your windshield with tint. However, your side and rear window can have a tint. However, the rule for front-side windows is to use a tint that allows 70% of the sunlight to pass through. Moreover, this law applies to all types of vehicles. You must follow the rules whether you drive a sedan, SUV, van, or truck. Otherwise, you will face a ticket and a penalty.

Window Tint colors and precautions

You are not allowed to apply a tint of red, ombre, silver, or blue because these colors divert the driver’s attention, and he cannot focus on the ongoing road. Moreover, a car’s window tint shouldn’t reflect light more than a standard window.

In the past, people darkened their windows to lower heat, provide privacy, and reduce glare. Nonetheless, the current California window tint law restricts applying color-changing film to automobile windows. Because front-side windows are not allowed to have any tint according to California law, workers even avoid using more than 88% film on these windows.

Side-effects of window tints

Tinting your car windows is risky because tinting can cause severe accidents. While driving a vehicle, excessive dark tints can limit the driver’s vision, and he cannot focus on the traffic and the important things around him. So, drivers need to follow California window tint law, not only to avoid penalties and tickets but also to save their lives. Furthermore, avoiding dark window tints can reduce the accident rate in California.

How can you get a medical exemption for window tint?

You can use dark-color window tints on your vehicles only if you have a medical exemption. You must apply to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Furthermore, the application must contain written evidence from a certified doctor that explains your severe illness or health risk issues due to UV rays and direct access to sunlight.

Moreover, you must have that permission letter when driving the vehicle. Additionally, if you have a doctor’s note, you can use dark tints and any device to control UV rays. This law was passed in 2017 and is still applicable in 2024.

Certification of window tint makers

When driving a car in California with tinted windows, you must have a signed certificate from the tint manufacturer or the tint installation provider that specifies the VLT percentage of the tint. The name and address of the tint film manufacturer are required on the certificate. Before being allowed to sell their product in California, filmmakers must also certify the film.

When operating a car with tinted windows, the driver must retain the certificate inside the car. According to state legislation, companies who apply tint film must also provide the vehicle’s owner with a certificate or sticker with their name and address.

Penalties and fines for violation of tint law

If any driver in California violates the tint law, he has to pay a fine. The officer will check the window tints, and if its minimal light visibility is more than 70 %, he will charge you a ticket. The officer will warn you and issue a penalty ticket if it’s your first violation.

Furthermore, if you are on the road with tinted windows 2nd time, you will be charged $25 as a penalty. Additionally, if you didn’t remove non-permissible tints from your windows, you have to pay $190 as your penalty, and the officer will stop your car and cancel your license.


To sum up, California law concerning window tinting forbids car owners and drivers from placing anything that can reduce their view through the windshield, side, or rear windows. California police officers strictly enforce the tinting statute regarding driver-side and windshield tint. Stickers and other decorations on the front side windows of vehicles are prohibited.

According to the law, a torn, bubbled, or broken window tint that can block the driver’s view is not permitted and needs to be replaced. Furthermore, California’s window tint law applies to all types of vehicles, including cars, trucks, and load carriers.


How much of a tint is legal for a windshield?

For a windshield, 30% of a tint is allowed. It is probably 3-4 inches for the front window and the front side windows; the tint should allow 70% of sunlight to pass through.

Do I have any exemption to use any device or dark tints to reflect the sunlight?

If you have severe issues with your health facing direct sunlight and UV rays, you can use a reflecting device and dark tints with the permission of the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

What is the penalty ticket cost?

For your first violation of tint law, you will be warned and get a ticket. After that, a fine of $25 will be charged, and if you don’t upgrade your tint, you have to pay $190, your car will be stopped, and your license will be canceled.

How can window tints cause accidents?

Dark window tints can reduce the focus and attention of drivers, and they cannot notice the happening around them. That’s why dark window tints are not allowed in California.

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