Everything to Know About Window Tinting Laws in Virginia

In 1999, the American state of Virginia window tint laws were first implemented. They were the 34th U.S. state to do so and finally passed the laws after noticing an increasing number of tinted vehicles.

But that wasn’t the only reason these laws were drafted; dark tinted windows were also a safety risk for local drivers. Plus, there was always an off-chance that criminals may use darkened window tints for their escape cars.

Eventually, the Virginian state government acknowledged these concerns and passed a set of excellent, well-functioning laws for local adherence. Despite being late to the party, Virginia’s tint laws are the most sensible of all American states.

Naturally, every U.S. state has an independent set of tint law rulings. For example, the tint laws in California will be different from those in Virginia. So, if you often travel across state borders by car, it’s high time you familiarize yourself with each state’s tint laws. This will help you steer clear of trouble and avoid police tickets.

Luckily, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about Virginia window tint law in the sections below. Understanding local rules and regulations will help you decide on the window tinting to pick for your vehicle. You’ll also find information on medical exemptions, law linguistics, and non-compliance penalties.

Map of the State of Virginia

Understanding Tint Law Lingo

It’s essential to understand what specific key terms mean before going over the laws for legal tint in Virginia:

  • V.L.T. Percentage (%): V.L.T., or ‘visible light transmission is denoted in percentages. It represents the amount of light passing through a specific window tint. A darker tint will bear a low V.L.T. value because the percentage of light passing through is less. Lighter tints have high V.L.T. values due to greater visible light transmission across the tinted window. 
  • Front-Side and Rear-Side Window Tint Level: ‘Front-side window tint level’ coincides with your sedan’s front window tint V.L.T. percentage. Its counterpart, ‘rear-side window tint level’ (also known as ‘back-side’), addresses the two back windows instead.
  • Rear Window Tint Level: Do not confuse this with ‘rear-side window tint level.’ Rear window tint level refers to the VLT% of the single window at the back (opposite your car’s windshield).
  • AS-1 Line: The AS-1 line rests 5 to 6 inches below a windshield’s highest point. Some cars may have a pre-indicated line, whereas others require manual measurement.

Types of Windshield Tints

When browsing the market, you’re bound to come across many windshield tint options. A few options that may come up when you are looking for window tint are Ceramic tint and smart window tint are the two most commonly employed varieties. Both are parallel in terms of performance but vary in price slightly. Regardless, feel free to select whichever option best agrees with your wallet while fulfilling its primary purpose.

How Dark Can You Tint Your Windows in Virginia?

Virginia has a unique set of rules for local and visiting vehicles that differ from other states because of its local climate. For example, Virginia has fewer sunny days than Florida or Texas. As a result, Virginia’s local laws are strikingly different from Florida tint laws and Texas tint laws so you may need to take extra caution if you have been following different state laws up to now…

Virginia Tint Laws for Passenger Vehicles

Noted below are Virginia’s tint laws for sedans:

  • V.L.T. limit for front side windows: Up to 50%
  • V.L.T. limit for back-side windows: Up to 35%
  • V.L.T. limit for rear window: Up to 35% 
  • Windshield tint: Must fall above the AS-1 line or measured 5-inch limit from the windshield’s top edge

Virginia Tint Laws for Multipurpose Vehicles

Multipurpose vehicles include S.U.V.s, vans, and more. Stated below are the window tint limits for multipurpose vehicles driven within Virginia:

  • Minimum V.L.T. for front side windows: Up to 50%
  • Minimum V.L.T. for back-side windows: Any %, as long as both side mirrors are present.
  • V.L.T. limit for rear window: Any %, as long as both side mirrors are present.
  • Windshield tint: Must fall above the AS-1 line or measured 5-inch limit from the windshield’s top edge

Tint Reflection Limits for Virginia Vehicles

Beauty Shot of White Car with Tinted Windows

Virginia’s local laws dictate that no tint be over 20% reflective. Anything above this limit not only poses a safety risk but can also get you pulled over by the police.

Excessively reflective window tints are difficult to see through. Remember, reflectivity reduces visibility. So, don’t risk exceeding the set limits because there could be negative consequences if you do! It is advised to use non-reflective tint in almost any state, which will always fall in the car window tinting laws, thus this will be the safest option to take if you are trying to avoid a fine.

Additional Virginia Tint Laws: F.A.Q. Section

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Virginia’s tint laws:

Are dual side mirrors compulsory in all vehicles driven within Virginia?

Dual side mirrors are mandatory for vehicles with tinted back windows only.

Are colored tints acceptable within Virginia?

Apart from red, yellow, and amber, all tint colors are allowed within Virginia.

Can you tint windshields in S.U.V.s?

Yes, as long as the tint is above the AS-1 line and adheres to the 20% reflectivity limit.

Which vehicles are exempted from Virginia tint darkness laws?

Law enforcement and government cars, limos, and emergency vehicles are exempt from the window tint laws stated above. Drivers with certain medical conditions can also gain exemption from regular tint laws.

Medical Exemptions

Individuals with the following conditions may apply for medical exemption from current Virginia tint laws:

  • Lupus
  • Bloom syndrome
  • Cockayne syndrome
  • Albinism and vitiligo
  • Xeroderma pigmentosum
  • Solar urticaria 
  • Dermatomyositis

However, drivers must first consult local authorities and medical institutes before denying the existing tint laws.

Start by submitting a filled-in Sun-Shading Medical Authorization Application (MD-20) to the D.M.V. To complete the form. You’ll have to first visit a physician or relevant doctor to verify your condition officially.

After successful form submission, you will be granted a new registration card with a “sun shading” stamp on it. If the cops ever stop you from having extra-dark windows, this card will help save you from trouble.

Penalties for Non-Compliance of Virginia Tint Laws

Virginia State Stamp

If you get pulled over for having the wrong vehicle window tint or reflectivity levels, you’ll end up with one of the following:

  • A ticket for violating the law
  • A fine above $110
  • The added cost of paying for illegal window tint removal

Conclusion

Virginia tint laws exist to keep individual drivers and the community safe from potential threats. Excessively dark tints can encourage road accidents because they decrease visibility, making it harder for drivers to see where they’re going. Plus, criminals often employed darkened windows to keep their identity hidden. The new laws help keep criminals at bay.

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