Florida drivers face different challenges than drivers in much of the U.S., and it’s not just the crowded, confusing highway system or the possibility of spotting an occasional gator on the side of the road along rural stretches of roadway.
One particular area of controversy is the amount of window tinting legally permitted on autos and where it’s located.
Sure, it can look cool on your ride and provide a bit of privacy – no need to make eye contact or allow fellow drivers to see what you’re doing, right?
But the most important reason many want the darkest tinting is to beat the heat – it’s warm all year here, and a good tinting or sunscreening package can cool down your car quickly, allowing you to stay out longer and not get overheated.
There’s a fine line, however, between acceptable and unacceptable amounts of tinting in Florida car tint laws but it is a legal line nonetheless. This means a driver could potentially be cited for a tinting violation without realizing it – or even a citation for every window, which could add up to a pricy ticket!
The law office of Thomas C. Grajek is happy to provide qualified legal advice for Florida residents or anyone with questions about local tinting laws or other crimes or moving violations.
The rules for legal car tint in Florida are different than many other states, and also continue to be updated regularly, so access to someone with knowledge of current laws and procedures can be vital.
Continue reading for more info about tinting laws and how we can help.
Getting your windows tinted: Florida Tint Laws
According to the State of Florida Legislature, there are specific restrictions governing the amount of tinting or sunscreening material that can cover or partially cover the front windshield, front side, back side and rear windows of a standard sedan-style vehicle. (There are separate restrictions for multi-passenger vehicles like busses or vans.)
This tinting can include any material that makes a window non-transparent or appears to change the window’s color, increase its reflectivity or cut down on the ability of light transmittance.
Tinting on a windshield is only allowed on a 5-inch strip at the top, provided it’s transparent and doesn’t limit a driver’s full field of vision.
Failure to comply with these state statutes is classified as a non-moving violation and a non-criminal infraction which can result in a fine.
How dark can window tint be in Florida?
Florida state tinting law looks at two factors: the percentage of light that’s allowed in the film and window (Visible Light Transmission), and the percentage of incoming light that’s reflected outward, which is able to reduce glare and heat.
Here, total solar reflectance is required to be no more than 28 percent for front side windows. Rear windows must allow at least 15 percent of light in. Variations can be allowed for perforated screening material that has a total visible light reflectance of more than 35 percent, and from louvered materials, which must not reduce visibility by more than 50 percent.
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How reflective can window tint be in Florida?
Tinting is allowed be no more than 25 percent or less of solar transmission for side windows and 35 percent or less for rear windows. Rear windows covered by perforated screening material must be less than 30 percent.
Other Florida tinting rules and regulations
Exclusions to the rules against full covering of side and back windows are allowed for vehicle owners with documented medical conditions that must avoid excess heat or sunlight, such as those dealing with skin cancer, lupus, or other solar sensitivities. Drivers must be able to produce proof of this medical condition in the form of a signed certificate and waiver from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Occupations where privacy and discretion can be an asset can receive exemptions to allow a higher percentage of tinting on their windows. These can include process servers, private investigators, and certain types of law enforcement automobiles. This tinting can allow better conditions for surveillance and make it difficult to be detected.
Repairing or replacing tinting material that has been legally installed is permitted but removing it, selling it and installing it without proper authorization is considered a second-degree misdemeanor.
Stickers displaying a car’s correct percentage of tinting are required to be displayed inside the driver’s car door.
Dual side mirrors are required when back windows are tinted.
To discuss tinting and schedule a free consultation with an experienced defense attorney in Florida, contact us!
What is important to know before getting your vehicle windows tinted?
Drivers considering tinting should become familiar with Florida’s laws for tinting, rather than trusting the word of an auto salesperson or detailing expert/tinting professional. These providers should be familiar with the state’s laws and discuss why they may not be able to do what you request, especially if it’s something like a dark windshield.
Someone moving from another state should also check the rules through the State of Florida or an objective auto organization such as AAA. The AAA compiled information on the current rules for tinting and sunscreening for every state.
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Florida window tinting laws have different regulations for multi-purpose vehicles, such as busses, so make sure you read the laws carefully and check with ones apply to your vehicle.
Q. Can you be pulled over for window tinting?
A. Many officers may do so as a safety precaution, such as if they don’t believe you’re able to see out your windows to drive properly. They also aren’t able to see what or who is in your vehicle and what you’re doing. They also could use the opportunity to use a portable light meter to actually measure the percentage of reflectiveness once the traffic stop occurs.
Q. How much is a ticket for improper tinting?
Non-moving violations are $116. However an officer potentially can write a ticket for every window which he or she believes is out of compliance. However, no points will be added to your driving record since it’s a non-moving violation. People also may be able to have the ticket/tickets dismissed if they demonstrate that they have legally modified their tinting to correct levels prior to a hearing.