Is 35% Window Tint Legal In California?

With sunny weather year-round, many California drivers look to dark window tinting for relief. But is 35% tint dark enough to run afoul of California tint laws?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Yes, 35% window tint is legal on all car windows in California, except the front windshield.

In this article, we’ll look at California’s specific legal limits for window tinting, where those regulations come from, what 35% tint looks like, penalties for illegal tint, and tips for staying on the right side of California’s window tint laws.

California’s Window Tinting Laws

Window tinting laws vary from state to state, and California has its own regulations in place to ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians. It is important for vehicle owners to understand these laws before applying window tint to their vehicles.

In California, the laws dictate specific restrictions for the front windshield and allowances for other windows.

Front Windshield Restrictions

According to California Vehicle Code Section 26708, the front windshield must allow at least 70% of light to pass through. This means that most types of window tinting are not permitted on the front windshield. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

For example, tinting may be applied to the top four inches of the front windshield, known as the “AS-1” line. This is often referred to as a “sun strip” and is allowed as long as it does not obstruct the driver’s view.

It is important to note that medical exemptions may be granted for individuals with certain medical conditions that require additional sun protection. These exemptions must be obtained through the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and require proper documentation from a licensed physician.

Allowances for Other Windows

While the front windshield has strict restrictions, California allows darker window tint on other windows of the vehicle. The side windows and rear windows can have a tint that allows less than 70% of light transmission, but it must still meet certain criteria.

The tint must be non-reflective and cannot have a metallic or mirrored appearance. Additionally, the tint must not interfere with the driver’s ability to see or be seen from outside the vehicle.

The darkness of the tint is measured by Visible Light Transmission (VLT), which refers to the percentage of visible light that is allowed to pass through the window. California law requires that the front side windows allow more than 70% VLT, while the rear side windows and rear window can have a VLT of any percentage.

It is worth mentioning that these regulations are subject to change, so it is always a good idea to consult the California DMV or a reputable window tinting professional for the most up-to-date information.

Background on California’s Tint Laws

California has specific laws in place regarding the tinting of car windows. These laws are in place to ensure public safety and maintain visibility on the roads. One common question that arises is whether a 35% window tint is legal in California.

Rationale for Limits and Restrictions

The rationale behind the limits and restrictions on window tint in California is to ensure that drivers have clear visibility both during the day and at night. Excessively dark window tints can obstruct the driver’s view and make it difficult to see pedestrians, other vehicles, or road signs.

By enforcing tint limits, the state aims to reduce the risk of accidents and promote road safety.

Furthermore, the restrictions on window tint help law enforcement officers to easily identify the occupants of a vehicle. This increases safety during traffic stops and other interactions with drivers.

Authorities Regulating Window Tint

The California Vehicle Code (CVC) is the primary authority that governs window tint regulations in the state. Specifically, Section 26708 of the CVC outlines the rules for window tinting.

According to the CVC, the front side windows (driver and passenger side) must have a minimum of 70% light transmittance. This means that at least 70% of visible light must pass through the window. Rear side windows and the rear window are subject to less restrictive requirements, allowing for darker tints.

It’s important to note that the percentage of light transmittance refers to the amount of visible light that can pass through the window, not the darkness of the tint itself. Therefore, a lower percentage indicates a darker tint.

Law enforcement agencies across the state are responsible for enforcing these tint regulations. If a driver is found to have windows with a tint that exceeds the legal limits, they may be subject to fines or other penalties.

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

What 35% Window Tint Looks Like

Window tint is a popular way to enhance the look and functionality of your vehicle. It offers various benefits, such as reducing glare, blocking harmful UV rays, and increasing privacy. In California, window tint laws are strict, and it’s important to know the legal limits to avoid any fines or penalties.

One common question that arises is whether 35% window tint is legal in California.

Photos and Examples of 35% Tint

35% window tint refers to the level of darkness or opacity of the window film. It means that only 35% of the light is allowed to pass through the tinted windows. To give you a better understanding of what 35% window tint looks like, here are some photos and examples:

  • Example 1: Imagine a car with clear windows. When 35% window tint is applied, the windows will appear slightly darker, but you will still be able to see inside the vehicle.
  • Example 2: Another way to visualize 35% window tint is to think of a pair of sunglasses with a medium tint. The windows will have a similar level of darkness, providing some shade and privacy.

These examples give you a general idea of what to expect with 35% window tint. However, it’s important to note that the appearance may vary depending on the type of vehicle, the quality of the window film, and other factors.

Differences vs. Lighter/Darker Tints

When comparing 35% window tint to lighter or darker tints, there are a few key differences to consider:

Window Tint Level Appearance Visibility
35% Medium darkness Can see inside the vehicle, but with reduced clarity
Lighter Tint Less darkness Increased visibility
Darker Tint More darkness Reduced visibility

As you can see, 35% window tint strikes a balance between privacy and visibility. It offers a moderate level of darkness without compromising the ability to see inside the vehicle. Lighter tints allow for greater visibility, while darker tints provide more privacy but can impair visibility.

When considering window tint options, it’s important to check your local laws and regulations to ensure compliance with the legal limits. For more information on California window tint laws, you can visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Penalties for Violating Tint Laws

While window tint laws vary from state to state, it’s important for California residents to understand the potential penalties for violating these laws. The state of California has specific regulations regarding the darkness of window tint, and failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and other consequences.

Tickets and Fines

If you are caught driving with window tint that exceeds the legal limit in California, you may be issued a ticket and fined. The amount of the fine can vary depending on the specific circumstances, but it is typically in the range of several hundred dollars.

It’s important to note that the fine may increase if you have multiple violations or if you fail to correct the issue within a specified timeframe.

Additionally, having illegally tinted windows can also be used as a primary reason for a police officer to pull you over. This can lead to further scrutiny and potential citations for other violations if they are discovered.

Fix-It Tickets

In some cases, if you are stopped for window tint violations, you may be given a “fix-it ticket” instead of a traditional citation. A fix-it ticket requires you to correct the issue within a certain period of time and provide proof of correction to the court.

If you comply with the requirements of the fix-it ticket, the citation will be dismissed and you will not be required to pay a fine.

It’s important to note that while fix-it tickets may seem like a more lenient option, it is still crucial to address the issue promptly. Failure to correct the window tint violation within the specified timeframe can result in additional fines and penalties.

For more information on window tint regulations and penalties in California, you can visit the official California Department of Motor Vehicles website at It is always a good idea to stay informed and ensure that your vehicle’s window tint is in compliance with the law to avoid unnecessary fines and legal issues.

Tips for Staying Legal

When it comes to window tinting laws, it’s important to stay informed and make sure you are following the regulations in your state. In California, the legal limit for window tint is 70% for the front side windows and the windshield must allow over 70% of light in.

However, many people wonder if 35% window tint is legal in California. Here are some tips to help you stay on the right side of the law:

Have Tint Professionally Installed

If you’re considering getting your windows tinted, it’s always best to have the job done by a professional. Not only will they have the expertise to install the tint properly, but they will also be familiar with the local laws and regulations.

A professional installer will ensure that your tint is within the legal limits and will provide you with the necessary documentation to prove it.

Get Documentation from the Tint Shop

When you have your windows tinted, be sure to ask the tint shop for documentation that shows the percentage of tint applied to your windows. This documentation can come in handy if you ever get pulled over or need to prove that your tint is legal.

Having this documentation will save you from potential fines or having to remove the tint later on.

It’s important to note that window tint laws can vary from state to state, so what may be legal in one state might not be legal in another. If you’re unsure about the tint laws in your state, it’s always best to do some research or consult with a professional.

For more information on California window tint laws, you can visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles website. They provide detailed information on the legal limits for window tinting, as well as other related regulations.


While California takes window tint regulations seriously, staying on the right side of the law is straightforward. With 35% tint or lighter on your car’s side and rear windows, and no tint on the front windshield, you can stay legal and beat the California sun.

Similar Posts