Yikes

Nothing draws police attention to your car more than window tints. The first thing a cop looks for on your car are window tints. Most people think they’re obeying the law by having the legal amount of tint on their windows. The problem is that the police can still pull you over.

Remember, a cop doesn’t have to know for sure you did something, he has to think you did something. Tints draw negative attention to both you and your car. Tinted windows also put police officers on high alert as cars with window tints are very dangerous because the police cannot see inside of them. This will get you pulled over more often because it looks suspicious. Window tints also make it difficult to see while driving at night. Even if your car had original tints from the factory, the police will not hesitate to write you a ticket. Most cops are pressured to fill ticket quotas. This is especially bad if a cop catches you on a day he needs to catch up on writing tickets. A cop can write you a ticket for each illegally tinted window you have. That means you can get four tickets at once just because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

What to do if you get pulled over

If you do get pulled over for having dark window tints, make sure you roll all of your windows down. Keep your hands on the steering wheel until the cops approach your car. After you get lectured about having dark window tints, make sure the cop uses an official window tint meter. A tint meter looks something like this

Tint Meter

Tint Meter

 

and is placed over the top of your window. Some cops will take your drivers license and press it up against the window. They will try and tell you that your windows are too dark if they cannot clearly read the letters on your drivers license. This isn’t an official window tint measure and can generally be proven in traffic court.

Don’t be afraid to ask the police why you’re getting pulled over in the first place.

Say “Good morning/afternoon Officer, may I ask what I did wrong?”.

If your windows were rolled down, the police would have no legitimate reason to pull you over in the first place (assuming the reason was for window tints). This would help us later in traffic court.

If you do end up getting a ticket, don’t say anything that will hurt your case in court. Cops write down on the back of their copy of the ticket anything you say that can and will be used against you in a court of law. Sound familiar?

Let’s assume we were in court standing in front of the judge. The cop always testifies first, so, would it help you if the cop’s testimony included “At that point I issued John Doe a ticket for illegally tinted windows and his spontaneous statement was, ‘This is a waste of my time. My windows aren’t even that dark and I’ll beat this in court anyway.’”

I guarantee you the judge will already make assumptions about you before you speak if something like that is included in the cop’s testimony. Always be courteous when you get a ticket. No amount of yelling, begging or crying will get you out of one.

Say “I will drive safer in the future. Thank you.” As much as it would hurt to say something like that, it can’t be used against you negatively in court.

Be aware of the local tint laws in your state. Google them to find out what the legal limit is. Don’t rely on car detailers to tell you the legal amount of tint. In most states, the legal amount doesn’t look tinted at all. Car detailers wouldn’t make any money if they installed the legal tint limit because people wouldn’t pay to have their windows slightly tinted.

Fighting a Window Tint Ticket in Traffic Court

Pleading not guilty to a ticket means you will go to court, on a later date, and stand in front of a judge next to the Officer that wrote you the ticket. The Officer will testify first and give his side of the story. The judge will then let you testify. After hearing both testimonies, the judge will give a “guilty” or “not guilty” decision. Remember to keep your cool during all of this. Judges have the option of significantly reducing fines even if they find you guilty. Get to court early and wear business attire. Judges will make assumptions about you before you open your mouth. Standing there in a t-shirt and jeans won’t do you any good. Bring the notes you wrote down after you received the ticket along with the following bulleted points.

Important facts to verify if you end up in traffic court fighting a tint ticket

  • Find out why you were pulled over in the first place
  • Ask if the officer had been officially trained if he used an actual window tint meter
  • Ask if the tint meter was properly calibrated and had been tested before it was used to measure your window tint
  • Make sure the officer says the part of your window he tested was free of any type of dirt or scratches

The Officer will testify first if you go to traffic court so you’ll be able to write down these points and check them off as the Officer goes over them in his testimony.

If the Officer misses one of these points after he is finished giving his testimony, say to the judge “Your honor, the Officer never included in their testimony…”

One of three things will happen at this point

  1. The judge will ask the Officer about the missing fact you pointed out
  2. The judge will dismiss the ticket and find you “not guilty”
  3. The judge will ask you if that is all you have to say

If scenario 1 or 2 continues, you should tell the judge (only if this is true) “Your honor, I’d like to point out that I have a clean driving history and ask that you please reduce any amount of fines I have incurred.” Judges normally have a computer screen in front of them and can readily see how many tickets you’ve received in the past. If we can’t get the ticket dismissed, our next best option is to pay a reduced fine.

Window tint tickets are difficult to have dismissed in court because properly calibrated machines (tint meters) have an extremely small margin of error. Cops are instrusive and will sometimes pull over your car because they want to see what’s inside. The chances of getting pulled over can be greatly reduced by having clear untinted windows.