Car window tinting is a wonderful invention. It blocks heat, reduces glare, and lessens eyestrain.
Today, your window tint can be retrofitted, making it easier than ever before.
In Georgia, with summer heat sometimes reaching as high as 110°F, window tinting is a great option for many.
Window tinting is legal in Georgia, but be aware, there are rules and regulations to follow.
You can be pulled over and even charged or incarcerated for breaking these laws.
Though it is unlikely you will ever be jailed for having your windows tinted too dark, it is still a good idea to learn the laws of the land before you go painting your windows black.
How do You Measure Window Tint?
In order to determine how much window tint is legal, there must be a way to determine how tinted the windows are.
Visible light transmission (VLT) percentage is the measure of how much light a tinted window lets through.
The higher the percentage, the more light is let through (e.g. 10% means only 10% of the light is getting through)
Using this standardized measure, law enforcement can use a specialized tool to determine if your windows are within the legal tint limit.
There is a 3% variance allowed.
Window Tint Reflection
While window tint is limited to a set measure and is determined by VLT, you must also consider the tint reflection.
Tint reflection is the amount of light the tint deflects.
The higher the percentage, the more light bounces off. Having reflective tinting can help a lot with reducing heat and glare.
Tints can either be reflective to varying degrees or non-reflective.
According to Georgia window tint laws, the reflectiveness of a window tint may not surpass 20%.
This limit applies to all Georgia vehicles.
Can You Get Pulled Over for Tint in Georgia?
Considering all the above regulations it is fair to wonder, can you get pulled over for tint in Georgia?
Yes, in fact, you can.
As of 2005, when the Georgia tint laws were enacted, you could be charged or fined for infractions.
Fine amounts are prone to change often, but as of 2021, the fine for breaking a window tint law in Georgia was up to $1,000.
There is also a possibility of incarceration for up to 12 months.
Though these penalties may seem strict, keep in mind — it is unlikely that they will ever be acted upon, at least to their full potential.
If you are pulled over for the first time for violating tint laws, you will most likely receive a “fix-it” ticket and a fine of about $25 to $100.
Should you be caught again after the first warning, you will likely receive a fine of upwards of $200.
How Much Tint is Too Much?
So, what is the legal limit for window tinting?
Well, it is dependent on the type of vehicle. Different classes of vehicles fall under different standards.
There are also medical exceptions to the laws.
In the eyes of Georgia window tint laws, there are two classes of vehicles: passenger vehicles and multi-purpose vehicles.
Sedans and other family vehicles fall under the passenger vehicle category, while SUVs and vans are considered multi-purpose vehicles.
All passenger vehicles are limited to no less than 32% VLT.
31%? Too dark.
The side windows and rear windows are all allowed to have 32% or more VLT.
The windshield, however, can only be tinted at the top 6”, and it must be non-reflective.
Like passenger vehicles, multi-purpose vehicles can only have the top six inches of their windshield tinted.
It must still be non-reflective and have a VLT of 32% or higher.
The front-side windows must also have a VLT of 32% or more, but the back-side windows and rear windows are not limited to any specific tint level.
If you fill out the application and provide a state-licensed optometrist’s or physician’s statement as well as paying a $10 application fee, you can be granted an exception to the tint laws.
If your medical issue can be rectified with protective eyewear, you will not be granted an exception.
If your application is approved, you may tint your windows to a VLT no lower than 23% (with the allowed 3% variance).
There are a couple of other regulations that must be considered when tinting your windows in Georgia.
First, colored window tint is permitted except for red and amber.
Second, there are no regulations for tinting your side mirrors, so do as you please with those.
Legally, you do not even need side view mirrors unless your rearview mirror is otherwise obstructed.
Additionally, certifications are required by the state for tint manufacturers.
If you buy a certified tint, it will fall within the legal state limit.
Once installed, there will also be a certification sticker on your windshield to identify it as a legal tint.
The sticker is a legal state requirement.
Window tinting is a must to beat the heat and reduce glare while driving.
The rules surrounding tinting may seem limiting, but even a slight tint can make a world of difference.
So long as you keep your window tinting to a 32% VLT or better and follow the regulations specific to your vehicle type, you should have no problems with law enforcement.
Just be sure to always have your tinting done by state-certified manufacturers and avoid red, amber, or overly reflective tints.
Always keep in mind — Georgia window tint laws exist to make driving safer for everyone.