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Can I be cited for having tinted windows on my car in New York?

For many reasons, New Yorkers might want to have the windows on their vehicle tinted. It could be a desire for privacy; there might be a medical reason for it to be done; or they simply like the aesthetic. However, it is important to understand that there are laws regulating tinted windows. If they are too dark, there can be a traffic violation given because of it. When there is a citation for windows that are tinted so dark that it is labeled a violation, it is important to understand the law and how to lodge a defense and perhaps have the violation dismissed.

According to state law, it is illegal for vehicles to have a windshield or a front side window that is dark. There are limits as to the percentage of darkness that the windows can have. More than 30 percent of light cannot be blocked by the tinting of these windows meaning 70 percent of light must pass through. The rear window also falls under this requirement except in cases where there are rearview mirrors on the outside on each side. These mirrors must provide a clear view for the driver to see behind the vehicle.

The rear side windows are required to let a minimum of 70 percent of light through in the following vehicle types: convertible, hatchback, hardtop, coupe, sedan and station wagon. The labeling of the vehicle itself will be a determinative factor as to whether it is in this category as the federal identification will say “passenger car.” Vehicles that are not in compliance with this law cannot be driven, nor can they be sold.

People who are suffering from a medical condition that necessitates that they have tinted windows are protected from citation under this law. Albinos, those with severe drug photosensitivity and other issues can be justification for tinted windows. For those who are cited for having an illegally tinted window, there can be a fine of up to $150. In addition, having the windows tinted to a degree where they violate this law will prevent the vehicle from passing an inspection.

While it might not sound as if it is a major problem to be ticketed for a tinted window, it is important for a driver to understand why not to plead guilty. When a traffic stop for tinted windows is made, it could lead to other citations and more problems. A legal professional who is experienced in helping clients who are facing traffic violations can help to lodge a defense against this or any other traffic issue and should be called to deal with the case.

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James L. Riotto
Criminal Defense Lawyer

James L. Riotto is an accomplished criminal defense attorney serving clients in New York. With an extensive background in law enforcement and criminal prosecution, his approach to each case is unique and informed by years of experience with the New York criminal justice system. As a graduate from Albany Law School and before going on to start his own practice, James worked at the Albany County District Attorney's Office, where he helped prosecute many DWI offenses. His inside knowledge of the tactics used to gain convictions provides him with a particular advantage when defending against DUI and other criminal charges.

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Adam Staier
Of Counsel

About Attorney Adam Staier has spent the last seven years practicing criminal defense law throughout upstate New York and the Capital Region. He began his legal career through internships in civil law, indigent legal representation and federal energy law regulation. Finding a passion in criminal law, Mr. Staier held internships handling both prosecution and defense…

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