Are you thinking about getting your car’s windows tinted in the state of Virginia?
If the answer is yes, it’s important to do your research on Virginia tint laws before taking the car into the shop.
Each state has painstakingly specific laws regarding window tinting, and Virginia itself is extremely detailed in its own rules and regulations.
So, to avoid a hefty penalty and a roadside encounter by a police officer, read on to make sure your vehicle is up to state code in Virginia.
History of Virginian Tinting Laws
The state of Virginia established the original laws in 1999.
Its latest revisions are based on the current Code of Virginia, section 46.2-1052 effective until March 1, 2021.
Window Tinting and VLT
When shopping for window tinting options, you may see the term VLT pop up now and again.
The metric commonly used to measure window tint film and how much light passes through is known as VLT or Visible Light Transmission.
A higher VLT means that a more significant percentage of light can pass through the tint film, whereas a lower VLT means that less will pass through.
For example, a 70% VLT tint will allow 70% of the light to pass through the tinted window.
By comparison, a 5% VLT tint will only allow 5% of light to pass through the darker film.
Tinting your Vehicle’s Different Windows
Now that we’ve gotten into the basics, it’s time to get into the in’s and out’s of Virginian window tint laws.
Below, we outline exactly how dark each window and windshield can be tinted in the state of Virginia.
Before we get into the specifics, it’s important to note that Virginia has different tinting laws for other vehicles.
In this article, we will differentiate Virginia tint laws for both passenger cars and multi-purpose vehicles.
These vehicle types are based on federal classification.
Front Windshield Tint Darkness in Virginia
A non-reflective tint is allowed above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line (or top 5 inches).
Rear or Back Windshield in Virginia
Passenger vehicles must allow more than 35% of light in, whereas multi-purpose vehicles can tint their back windshield to any darkness.
Front Side Windows in Virginia
According to Virginia Law, front side windows are those adjacent “to and forward of the driver’s seat.”
Passenger and multi-purpose vehicles must have windows that allow more than a 50% VLT tint.
Back or Rear Side Windows in Virginia
Passenger vehicles must allow more than 35% of light through their back and rear side windows.
Multi-purpose vehicles can darken their rear or side windows as much as they’d like.
Reflection and Window Tinting in Virginia
Another important factor to consider when tinting your windows is reflection.
Because certain window tints can reflect light, Virginian law requires that the film must not be more than 20% reflective.
Additionally, a reflective window tint cannot produce a holographic or prism effect.
Can You Get Pulled Over for Window Tint in Virginia?
If you’re asking yourself, “can you get pulled over for tint in Virginia?” the answer is yes.
In the state of Virginia, a police officer is legally authorized to pull you over if they suspect that your windows are not up to code.
If your windshield or window is not consistent with the law, you can expect a class 3 misdemeanor, a $110 ticket, as well as a mandatory removal of the unauthorized window tint.
At first, these penalties don’t seem severe.
However, if caught with unauthorized windows for a second time, you could face a Class 2 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in jail, fines up to $1,000, or both.
So, before you consider tinting options for your vehicle, we suggest you check with your local detailer or automobile shop to make sure you won’t experience any trouble on the road.
Virginia Window Tint Law Medical Exemption
In the state of Virginia, if you are a person with a medical condition that requires protection from sunlight or bright artificial light, you can equip your car with window tinting films below state regulation.
It is essential, however, to obtain medical authorization before adding tints to your window.
A successful Sun-Shading Medical Authorization application is required to qualify for medical authorization.
Once approved, you will be able to tint your windshields, front, rear, and side windows up to 35%.
Finally, it’s important to keep your registration card with specific instructions in the Special Conditions space.
This card will be mailed to you once your application is approved.
This will verify that the vehicle is authorized to have tinted windows below state regulation.
Other Virginian Window Tint Regulations
Aside from the rules and regulations listed above, you will want to be sure you are also adhering to the following Virginia tint laws:
- Red, yellow, and amber window tints are not permitted.
- Dual side mirrors are required if any window on a vehicle is tinted.
- The Window Tint Certification Rules do not require that film manufacturers certify the film they sell in Virginia. This is another reason you should visit an authorized detail shop or auto shop before purchasing and installing tint film.
- If you do tint your windows and windshields, a sticker will need to be displayed indicating so. While Virginia law requires this, there are no requirements or specifics to the sticker’s appearance or location on your vehicle.
Keep in mind that the Virginian tinting laws are subject to change in March 2021.
For more information on up-to-date rules and regulations, visit the Virginian Law website or visit your local DMV.