Vehicle Window Tinting Laws in Georgia

Posted by Richard Lawson | Aug 09, 2014 | 7 Comments

Georgia's O.C.G.A. § 40-8-73.1 regulates vehicle window tinting. Under this statute, you cannot legally tint the front windshield at all, and you cannot reduce light transmission through the rear windshield and windows to less than 32 percent, plus or minus 3 percent. The statute defines “light transmission" as ratio of the amount of total light, expressed in percentages, which is allowed to pass through a surface to the amount of light falling on the surface.

O.C.G.A. § 40-8-73.1 also prohibits increasing the window and rear windshield light reflectance to more than 20 percent. "Light reflectance" means the ratio of the amount of total light that is reflected outward by a product or material to the amount of total light falling on the product or material.

An officer may stop your vehicle if he or she suspects illegal window tinting. Officers can determine the tint of your vehicle's windows using a tint meter. Unfortunately, even if the field test later shows that the window tint is within the legal limit, it would not render the stop illegal as long as the officer's belief that the tinting was outside the legal limit was reasonable.

As a result, a police officer can charge someone with DUI after they have pulled someone over for a window tint violation that turns out to be in error.  The articulable suspicion for the DUI will stand as long as the officer has an honest belief that the window tint violation occurred.

It should be obvious to any reader that the ability of an officer to use ”good faith” in these situations is a recipe for abuse.  There is no way to determine if a police officer has made a good faith judgment or has stopped someone based on a pretext.   With the pressures placed upon police officers to make DUI arrests, Window Tint Violations are another way for the police to have interactions with Georgia drivers.

The statute carves out several exceptions:

For example, you may qualify for an exception if a medical condition restricts you from operating or riding in a vehicle without sufficient sunlight protection.

To receive this exception, you must send an application to the Department of Public Safety and include written documentation by your physician or a certified optometrist. The application requires a $10 processing fee in the form of money order, certified check, or cashier's check. The Department of Public Safety will not approve your application if protective eyewear will adequately protect you from the sun.

Georgia's window tinting statute also does not apply to vehicles that had the windows tinted before factory delivery. Of course police officers mistaken factory tint for illegal aftermarket tint all the time, and as a result, vehicles with factory tint are routinely stopped.  Once a car is stopped, the police can investigate any other crime, including DUI.

Finally, commercial and government vehicles are also exempt from this statute. Commercial vehicles, however, must abide by the rules set out by federal motor carrier safety regulations contained in 49 C.F.R. 393.60 and adopted by the commissioner of public safety pursuant to Code Section 40-1-8.

Even if you qualify for one of these exceptions to Georgia's window tinting statute, the tinting can never be below 23% light.

Those convicted of O.C.G.A. § 40-8-73.1 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor offense and will be subject to fingerprinting.

For reference, technically O.C.G.A § 40-8-73.1 refers legally to “affixing of materials which reduce light transmission or increase light reflectance through windows or windshields”

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Richard Lawson

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Mike Reply

Posted Feb 16, 2017 at 15:06:26

CAN A OFFICER GIVE ME A Window tint violation at 1030 pm..its dark outside and the reader they use is not letting sunshine or day light thru..

Doc Irving Reply

Posted Aug 06, 2017 at 09:48:13

I’m looking through several listings of the Georgia tint law and I specifically keep seeing the word, SEDAN.
Does the tint law apply to two-door convertible cars? Is this a loophole?

Richard Lawson Reply

Posted Aug 06, 2017 at 10:16:52

Mr. Irving, it is not a loophole. Georgia Window Tinting laws apply to all vehicles. Thank you for visiting our website.

Irby Reply

Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 07:54:39

If an officer stops you at night and says it is because of your tent and then determines that your tint is actually legal. Should they let you go since they say that is the reason you were stopped, or should they start asking for ID’s, especially if they did not do it before they checked the tint. At this point, it starts to look like a case of profiling.

Richard Lawson Reply

Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 18:04:47

You make a good point. The problem is that many police officers use a traffic stop for one “offense” as a pretext to investigate something else..

Melissa Reply

Posted Apr 19, 2019 at 06:24:36

If you’re car is known to have tint too dark and an officer stops you with your windows down, having not been rolled up during travel, does he have the right to force you to roll the windows up and then give you a ticket. And if that’s the only reason for the stop is that legal?

Richard Lawson Reply

Posted Apr 19, 2019 at 06:29:05

If you do not roll the window down you will be charged with obstruction and arrested. You cannot avoid a ticket by not cooperating. If a ticket is given to someone unjustly, that is why we have the court system.

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