Jill Kolodner | April 19, 2023 | Maryland Law
Before you take your car or truck into the shop to tint your windows, it’s important that you take note of Maryland’s window tint laws. These laws limit the amount of tint you can legally apply to the windows and windshield of your vehicle.
Window tints will reduce the light that passes through your windows and keep your car cooler during the hot summer months. They can also increase visibility and minimize the occurrence of car accidents.
However, law enforcement officers who see you driving and believe your window tint is too dark can pull you over and issue you a citation. This citation can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and an order that you have the tint removed.
Measuring Window Tint
Window tinting degrees are expressed in the amount of visible light transmission (VLT). VLT describes how much light the tint allows to pass through and enter your car’s interior. When the VLT number is higher, more light passes through the window and enters the interior.
For example, a tint with 65 percent VLT allows 65 percent of light to pass through. This results in a car interior that is brighter and warmer than a tint of 40 percent, which would only allow 40 percent of visible light to pass through the window.
Window Tint Limitations in Maryland
In Maryland, passenger cars are not permitted to have tints with less than 35 percent VLT on any window. In addition, you may only have tint on the top five inches of the front windshield or above the AS1 line. The AS1 line refers to the line in your windshield where AS1 glass, the most transparent glass and the only type approved for windshield use, begins to be used. It is usually located five inches below the top of your windshield.
Sports utility vehicles, vans, and certain other vehicles have different rules. Like passenger cars, the windshield of these vehicles cannot have any tint below the AS1 line. Also, the front passenger and front driver windows cannot have a tint darker than 35 percent VLT. But all other windows can have a tint of any darkness. The only limitation is that any brake light in the rear of the vehicle cannot be covered by window tint.
It’s important to note that no metallic or colored tint is permitted on any window of any vehicle.
Exceptions to Maryland’s Window Tint Laws
The law recognizes two exceptions to the window tint law. If a medical condition requires a darker window tint than permitted, you may have that tint in place as long as you have a doctor’s note explaining your medical condition and the need for the tint.
Also, you are permitted to have a tint that is easily removable if you are using it to shield a child less than 10 years old from the sun.
Why Maryland’s Window Tint Laws Matter
Knowing the window tint laws in Maryland can keep you from being unexpectedly pulled over and receiving a citation. Law enforcement officers are sensitive to illegally tinted windows because they represent a safety risk to officers conducting a traffic stop. Windows that are too dark can conceal individuals intending to harm officers.
If you need clarification about the tint of your windows, you can take your vehicle to any auto repair shop and have the tint measured. Your local law enforcement department may also be willing to measure the tint for you and let you know if it is too dark.
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