How Much Is A Tint Ticket In California?

Getting a ticket for illegal window tint in California can cost between $25 and $200 depending on location and severity. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The fine for a fix-it tint ticket in California typically ranges from $25 to $50, while the penalty for not fixing the violation can be up to $200.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about California tint ticket costs. We’ll outline the legal tint limits for front, rear, and side windows in California. We’ll explain the different types of tint tickets you can receive and the associated fines. We’ll also discuss options for contesting a citation and detail the consequences of failing to pay or fix the violation.

California’s Window Tinting Laws

Window tinting is a popular modification among vehicle owners, as it offers numerous benefits such as reducing glare, blocking harmful UV rays, and providing privacy. However, it is important to be aware of the window tinting laws in your state to avoid getting a ticket.

In California, there are specific regulations that govern the darkness of window tint and where it can be applied on a vehicle.

Window Tint Darkness

California law specifies the maximum darkness allowed for window tint on different windows of a vehicle. The front windshield must allow more than 70% of light to pass through, while the front side windows must allow more than 70% of light in.

The rear side windows and the rear window can have any darkness level, as long as the vehicle has side mirrors that provide a clear view of the road.

These regulations are in place to ensure that drivers have adequate visibility and to promote road safety. It is important to note that the darkness of the tint is measured by the percentage of visible light that can pass through the window. Violating these regulations can result in a tint ticket.

Tint Ticket Penalties

If you are caught with window tint that does not comply with California’s regulations, you may receive a tint ticket. The penalties for a tint ticket can vary depending on the specific violation and the officer’s discretion. Generally, the first offense can result in a fine of up to $250.

Subsequent offenses may result in higher fines and possible vehicle impoundment.

It is also worth mentioning that having an illegal tint can be considered a “fix-it” ticket, which means that you have a chance to correct the violation within a certain timeframe. In this case, you would need to remove or replace the illegal tint and have your vehicle inspected by law enforcement to prove compliance.

Enforcement and Exceptions

Law enforcement officers in California actively enforce window tint regulations during traffic stops and vehicle inspections. They use specialized tools to measure the darkness of the window tint and determine if it meets the legal requirements.

It is important to note that even if you purchased a vehicle with tinted windows, it is your responsibility to ensure that the tint complies with the law.

There are some exceptions to California’s window tinting laws. For example, if you have a medical condition that requires you to have darker tint on your windows, you may be eligible for an exemption. However, you would need to obtain a medical exemption certificate from a licensed physician and carry it in your vehicle at all times.

For more information about California’s window tinting laws and exemptions, you can visit the official California Department of Motor Vehicles website at It is always best to stay informed and comply with the law to avoid any unnecessary fines or penalties.

Types of Tint Tickets and Fines

If you’re a California driver, you may be wondering how much a tint ticket will cost you. Tinted windows can offer privacy and protection from the sun, but it’s important to make sure your tint complies with the law. Violating tint regulations can result in a ticket and fines.

Let’s take a look at the different types of tint tickets and the fines associated with them.

Excessive Tint

One common type of tint ticket is for having windows that are excessively tinted. California law sets limits on how dark your window tint can be. The darkness is measured by the percentage of light that can pass through the window.

If your windows are too dark, you may receive a ticket for excessive tint. The fine for an excessive tint ticket can vary depending on the county, but it typically ranges from $100 to $250.

Obstructed View

Another type of tint ticket is for having windows that obstruct the driver’s view. While window tint can provide privacy, it’s important to ensure that it doesn’t impair your ability to see the road clearly.

If your tint is too dark or covers too much of the windshield or side windows, you may receive a ticket for obstructed view. The fine for an obstructed view ticket can also vary, but it is usually in the range of $100 to $250.

Fix-it Tickets

In some cases, if you receive a tint ticket, you may have the option to correct the issue and have the fine reduced or dismissed. These are known as “fix-it” tickets. To resolve a fix-it ticket, you will need to remove or adjust the tint to comply with the law and have an authorized person sign off on the correction.

Once the correction is verified, you may need to pay a dismissal fee, which is typically around $25.

Additional Consequences

It’s important to note that receiving a tint ticket can have additional consequences beyond just the fine. Your insurance rates may increase, and having a tint ticket on your record could affect your driving privileges and employment opportunities.

It’s always best to make sure your window tint complies with the law to avoid these potential consequences.

For more information on California tint laws and related fines, you can visit the official California Department of Motor Vehicles website at

Contesting a Citation

Receiving a tint ticket in California can be frustrating, but there are steps you can take to contest the citation. It’s important to understand the process and your rights in order to increase your chances of a successful outcome.

1. Gather evidence

Before contesting a citation, gather any evidence that supports your case. This can include photographs of your vehicle’s windows, receipts or documentation of any modifications made to your tint, and any relevant laws or regulations pertaining to window tinting in California.

The more evidence you have, the stronger your argument will be.

2. Research the law

Familiarize yourself with the specific window tinting laws in California. Each state has different regulations regarding tint darkness and reflectivity. Understanding these laws will help you determine if your tint is within the legal limits and if the citation is justified.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website is a great resource for finding this information.

3. Consider hiring an attorney

If you believe you have a strong case or if you are unfamiliar with the legal process, it may be beneficial to hire an attorney who specializes in traffic violations. They will have the knowledge and experience to navigate the legal system and present your case effectively.

4. Request a trial by written declaration

In California, you have the option to request a trial by written declaration. This allows you to contest the citation without appearing in court. You will need to submit a written statement explaining your side of the story and provide any evidence you have gathered.

The court will review your statement and make a decision based on the evidence presented.

5. Appeal the decision

If the court rules against you in a trial by written declaration, you have the right to appeal the decision. Consult with your attorney to determine the best course of action and to ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed correctly and within the designated time frame.

Contesting a citation can be a lengthy and complex process, but with the right preparation and representation, you have a chance at a successful outcome. Remember to gather evidence, research the law, consider hiring an attorney, request a trial by written declaration, and appeal the decision if necessary.

Good luck!

Penalties for Unpaid or Unfixed Tickets

When it comes to unpaid or unfixed tint tickets in California, there are several penalties that individuals may face. It is important to understand these consequences to avoid further complications and potential legal issues.


The first penalty for an unpaid or unfixed tint ticket is a fine. The amount of the fine can vary depending on the specific violation and the county in which it occurred. Typically, fines can range from $25 to $197 for a first offense. Repeat offenses may result in higher fines.

Additional Fees

On top of the initial fine, individuals may also be required to pay additional fees. These fees can include court fees, administrative fees, and processing fees. These additional costs can quickly add up, making it even more important to address the ticket promptly.

Driver’s License Suspension

In some cases, unpaid or unfixed tint tickets can lead to the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license. This can have significant consequences, as it can impact one’s ability to legally drive and may result in higher insurance rates once the license is reinstated.

Vehicle Registration Hold

Another penalty for failing to pay or fix a tint ticket is a hold on the vehicle’s registration. This means that individuals will be unable to renew their vehicle’s registration until the ticket is resolved.

It is important to note that driving with expired registration can result in additional fines and penalties.

Warrant for Arrest

In extreme cases, if a tint ticket remains unpaid or unresolved for an extended period, a warrant for arrest may be issued. This can lead to serious legal consequences, including potential jail time. It is crucial to address the ticket promptly to avoid such severe penalties.

It is always best to address tint tickets as soon as possible to avoid these penalties. Individuals should consider paying the fine or fixing the violation, and if necessary, consult with a traffic attorney to understand their options and potential consequences.

Avoiding Tint Trouble

When it comes to tinted windows, California has specific laws and regulations in place to ensure road safety and visibility for drivers. Violating these laws can result in receiving a tint ticket, which can be quite costly.

Understanding the rules and regulations regarding window tinting can help you avoid any trouble with the law.

California Window Tint Laws

In California, the laws regarding window tint are defined by the Vehicle Code Section 26708. This law states that the windshield and front side windows must allow at least 70% of light to pass through.

The rear side windows and rear window can have any darkness of tint as long as the vehicle has rearview mirrors on both sides. Additionally, the law states that no tint or other material may be applied to the windshield that obstructs or reduces the driver’s clear view.

It’s important to note that these regulations apply to both the driver and passenger side windows. If your vehicle’s tint doesn’t meet these requirements, you may be subject to a tint ticket.

The Cost of a Tint Ticket

If you receive a tint ticket in California, the cost can vary depending on the location and the officer issuing the ticket. On average, a tint ticket can range from $100 to $250. However, it’s worth noting that the actual fine amount is just one part of the cost.

Additional costs can come in the form of court fees, traffic school fees (if applicable), and potential increases in insurance premiums. Therefore, it’s best to avoid the ticket altogether by ensuring your window tint complies with the law.

Ensuring Compliance

To avoid the hassle and expense of a tint ticket, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your vehicle’s window tint is in compliance with California law:

  1. Read the Vehicle Code Section 26708 to familiarize yourself with the regulations.
  2. Check the tint percentage of your windows using a tint meter, which can be purchased online or at automotive stores.
  3. Consult with a professional window tint installer to ensure compliance with the law.
  4. Regularly inspect your vehicle’s window tint to ensure it hasn’t faded or become darker over time.

By following these steps, you can avoid the trouble of a tint ticket and enjoy the benefits of having window tint that is both stylish and legal.

For more information on California’s window tint laws, you can visit the official California Department of Motor Vehicles website at


Getting cited for illegal tint in California can be costly, especially if you fail to pay or fix the violation. But by understanding the law, double checking your window tint, and contesting a citation if you believe it was unjustified, you can minimize the fines. With the right knowledge, you can make sure your car’s tint stays within legal limits in California.

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