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Maryland Window Tint Laws

There are lots of good reasons for window tinting; It keeps the car cool on hot summer days, it prevents your car’s interior from sun damage, and it helps conceal valuables should a curious passer-by attempt to look through the glass.

But window tinting can also be dangerous, especially if driving at night.

This is why Maryland window tint laws limit the extent of window tinting.

But how much is legally permissible?

To answer this, we must first look at how window tints are measured.

How is Window Tint Measured?

Maryland window tint is measured by Visible Light Transmission or VLT.

In Maryland, this is the percentage of light able to penetrate both the tinted film and window glass. The lower the percentage number, the darker the tint is.

How Much Window Tint is Allowed?

So, that’s how we calculated window tint.

But how much window tint is acceptable?

In Maryland, the amount of window tint varies depending on the type of car.

    • Sedans can have a non-reflective tint along the top 5 inches of the windshield, but below that, the glass must be untinted. Other sedan windows, including front, side and rear windows, cannot be darker than 35% VLT.
    • Sedans can have a non-reflective tint along the top 5 inches of the windshield, but below that, the glass must be untinted. Other sedan windows, including front, side and rear windows, cannot be darker than 35% VLT.
    • SUVs are allowed a non-reflective window tint on the upper 5 inches of the windshield. But the windshield and front windows are required to have a VLT of higher than 35%. However, the rear windows and windshield have as high a tint as the car owner wishes.
    • Vans can be tinted on the top 5 inches of windshield, but like the sedan car, the front windows and windshield must not be darker than 35%. Darkness levels can vary on any and all rear windows.

Multipurpose vehicles, such as class E trucks and limousines, have slightly different standards.

These vehicles are limited to 35% tint on their front and side windows.

But no vehicle (passenger or otherwise) may have red, amber, yellow, or reflective window tinting.

Adhering to the Maryland legal standard should be simple, because vehicle service providers must follow the same laws.

How Reflective Can Tint Be?

While tint degree can vary from vehicle to vehicle, Maryland’s laws on reflective tint are much more consistent.

No sedan, SUV or van can have mirrored or reflectively tinted front or back side windows.

Can You Get Pulled Over for Tint in Maryland?

The answer is yes.

If your windows look too dark, or the police suspect them of being lower than is legally permissible, you may find yourself pulled over and facing a ticket.

Can You Get Pulled Over Outside of Maryland?

Once again, the answer is yes.

Not all states follow the same window tinting laws, so if you’re holidaying in a tinted car, take note.

General practice in most states is to adhere to the law of the car’s registration state.

Provided your car is registered to and compliant with Maryland window tint laws, you should be fine.

Just make sure to have the registration on hand.

Are There Exceptions?


They don’t happen often, but if you have a medical condition, such as photophobia, or any other condition that prevents your exposure to sun, you may be exempt from tint restrictions.

Since this will almost certainly lead to being pulled over for tint violation, though, you’ll need to have documentation proving the medical exemption in the car at all times.

How to Tell if Your Window Tint is Legal

To avoid being pulled over, the best practice is to make sure your window tint meets Maryland’s legal standard.

The only reliable way to measure the extent of your window tint is using a specialized tint-meter.

These are available at local police stations for testing your tint, but most people choose not to drive there to confirm their tint is up to standard.

Alternatively, many businesses that install tinted windows possess this device and can help confirm your windows meet Maryland window tint law after installation.

What Happens if You Violate Maryland Window Tint Law?

If you are pulled over and receive a ticket for a window tint violation in Maryland, you’ll receive a Safety Equipment Repair Order (SERO).

The document, which is like a traffic ticket, will specify which violations you were cited for.

It stipulates that you must correct the problem and have the vehicle inspected for compliance.

After the repairs are made, you must deliver the SERO to ‘a police-authorized inspection station’ to certify the legality of any tinting (or to confirm no tinting).

Once the new windows are certified, you have 30 days to submit the certification to the Automotive Safety Enforcement Division (ASED).

Other Maryland Tinting Rules

  • Cars with rear-tinted windows must have dual side mirrors
  • All tinted film must be state-certified. Car owners looking to tint their windows should ensure their dealer uses certified film
  • A sticker identifying legal tinting must be visible between the film and window glass
  • Windshield tint below the allotted 5 inches is strictly prohibited, as are tinted break or headlights

While the law is clear, Maryland window tinting enforcement may leave room for interpretation depending on the county.

Contacting your local police department for the county policy on tinted windows will help ensure you follow the rules at all times.