Washington D.C. Car Window Tint Laws (Updated)

Everyone agrees that tinted windows look cool. However, it is important to know the laws regarding tinted windows before purchasing or driving a car with tinted windows. Check the laws in your state before making any decisions about tinted windows.

Quick Answer

If you drive a minivan or an SUV, your windows need to meet the following regulations:

  • Windshield: 55% above the AS-1 line
  • Front Side Windows: 70% VLT
  • Back Side Windows: 35% VLT
  • Rear Windshield: 35% VLT

If you drive a sedan or midsize car or truck, your windows need to meet the following regulations:

  • Windshield: 70% above the AS-1 line
  • Front Side Windows: 70% VLT
  • Back Side Windows: 50% VLT
  • Rear Windshield: 50% VLT

Whether you live in Washington D.C. and are buying a new car or are on a road trip and driving through, make sure your car windows tinted correctly.


Window Tinting in Washington D.C.  – What Does the Law Say?

Reading and understanding the laws can sometimes be confusing. Here, we are going to look at the specifics of the window tint laws in Washington D.C.

Can Windows Be Tinted in Washington D.C.?

Car windows in Washington D.C. can be tinted to a certain degree. The rules for tinted windows are determined by car type and window placement.

Cars, Trucks, Motor Vehicles: For most vehicles the law states that the front windshield can only be tinted up to 70% above the AS-1 line. Side windows in the front need 70% or more Visible Light Transmission (VLT). Side windows in the back need 50% or more VLT. The rear window must have 50% or more VLT.

Minivans: For Minivans the numbers are slightly different. Front windshields can be tinted only up to 55% and only above the AS-1 line. Side windows in the front must have a VLT of 70% or more. Side windows in the back must have a VLT of 35% or more. The rear window needs a VLT of 35% or more.

What Windows Can Be Tinted in Washington D.C.?

Most windows can be tinted to some extent in Washington D.C. The important thing to know is how much of the window can be tinted and how dark it can be.

Front Windshield: The Front Windshield can only be tinted above the AS-1 line. The AS-1 line is generally where the visor ends. Most cars will come with this already tinted. However, if it is not tinted and you are not sure, double check before getting tinted windows. If you get a windshield with a tint that is too low you can get fined.

Back Windshield: The back windshield can be tinted up to 50% but no more. This is often referred to as 50% VLT or 50% or more of visible light must be transmitted through the window. The rules are different for minivans, which must have a VLT of 35% or more. This means minivans must allow 35% of visible light to transmit through.

Front Windows, Driver and Passenger: In Washington D.C. the drivers-side window can be tinted like the front-passenger-side window. They must allow a VLT of 70% or more for sedans and other smaller cars and trucks. Minivans and SUVs must allow a VLT of 70% or more for these windows.

Backseat Windows: Windows in the back seat can be darker than those in the front seat. In a sedan or midsize car or truck the windows should have a VLT of 50% or more. In a Minivan or SUV the VLT for backseat windows is 35% or more. The back windshield needs a VLT of 50% or more for sedans and smaller cars and trucks. The back windshield needs a VLT of 35% for SUVs and Minivans.

Restricted Colors: There are no restricted colors in Washington D.C. You can get whatever color tint you want so long as it is the right amount in the right places.

Washington D.C. Window Tint Law Medical Exemption

Washington D.C. offers a Medical Exemption which allows windows to be more tinted than is regulation. However, there are some important steps you have to go through to receive the exemption.

Medical Condition: In order to receive a medical exemption that would allow your windows to be more tinted you need a qualifying medical condition.

Doctor’s Certification: If you think you might have a qualifying medical condition, you need to go in and see your doctor to receive a letter or certification. Your Primary Physician or an Ophthalmologist (Eye Doctor) can write the letter certifying that you do have “X” condition and that tinted windows would improve your well-being. You might also be able to get a certificate from a Dermatologist for certain skin conditions.

Vehicle Tint Waiver Request: Once you have your written letter or certificate, you need to fill-out the DMV Vehicle Tint Waiver Request. You will need to turn it in with your doctor’s certificate and any other requested information.

Documentation: Once you are approved, you need to keep the approval documents in your car in case you ever need to prove your exemption to the law.

Frequently Asked Questions About Washington D.C. Car Window Tinting Laws

What Does VLT Mean According to Washington D.C. Law?

VLT is a universal term in the United States that means Visible Light Transmission. VLT refers to how dark or light the tinting can be. A higher VLT means that a window is lighter in color and must allow in more light. A lower VLT means the window can be darker in color and allow less light through.

How Much Does Car Window Tinting Cost in Washington D.C.?

The price for getting your windows tinted will depend on the person who does the work. It is important to note that you should make sure they do good work. It is illegal for anyone to install or make tinted windows that violate Washington D.C. law. On average the cost of window tinting is about $400

How Dark Can Your Windows Be in Washington D.C.?

In general, your windows cannot be dark in Washington D.C. Windows in cars and sedans must allow in 50-70% or more of visible light. For SUVs and Minivans, the windows must allow in 35-70% or more of visible light. Sunglasses often have a VLT of 15-25%, so your windows cannot be as dark as the average sunglasses.

Is Reflective or Colored Tint Legal in Washington D.C.?

Colored tint is allowed on windows in Washington D.C. However, the tinting rules still apply based on VLT (Visible Light Transmission). No matter whether you choose pink or dark blue, the tint must allow a certain percentage of light through.

Reflective Tinting is not allowed in Washington D.C. You must have non-reflective tinting on all windows.

Can You Get a Ticket for Tinted Windows in Washington D.C.?

You can get a ticket for having tinted windows in Washington D.C. if they are against regulation. If your windows are darker than allowed and you do not have a medical exemption then you will get fined. The fine is about $50.

Wrap Up

If you are not sure if your windows meet regulation, it is a good idea to get them checked out. If you are planning on getting your windows tinted, make sure and do your homework and pick a reputable window tinter.

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