New York Window Tint Laws: A Full Guide

Window tinting has become a popular trend among car owners due to its aesthetic appeal and functional benefits, such as protecting against harmful UV rays and enhancing privacy. However, it’s crucial to consider the legal implications involved, as each state in the U.S has specific laws governing window tinting.

For instance, the state of New York has precise stipulations, which car owners need to adhere to avoid fines or penalties. This article offers a comprehensive look at New York’s window tinting laws to guide residents and visitors driving within the state.

Window Tint Laws in New York

New York has specific laws in place governing the degree of tint that can be applied to car windows. These regulations were primarily enacted to ensure the safety of both the drivers and other road users. Let’s delve into the specifics of these laws.


The windshield must allow more than 70% of light in. Non-reflective tint is allowed on the top six inches of the windshield.

Front Side Windows

The tint on front side windows must also allow more than 70% of light in. This measure is in place to ensure that the driver has maximum visibility and to allow law enforcement to see into the vehicle for their safety.

Car sunset reflection.

Back Side Windows and Rear Window

Any darkness of tint can be used on the back side and rear windows for sedans. However, for SUVs and vans, the tint must allow more than 70% of light in.


New York laws do not permit metallic or mirrored appearance on the windshield and front side windows.

Certificates and Stickers

If your car’s windows are tinted, you must have a sticker between the left front door window and the left front windshield, indicating that your vehicle is legally tinted.

Medical Exemptions

New York laws provide provisions for medical exemptions to window tinting laws. For example, if a resident has a specific medical condition that requires extra window tinting, they can apply for an exemption.

Please note that these laws can be updated at any time, so it is essential to check for the most recent laws on the New York Department of Motor Vehicles website or consult with a legal expert. Non-compliance with these regulations could result in penalties, including fines and vehicle inspection failures. Be smart, stay informed, and ensure your vehicle meets the required standards.

A tint measuring 20% on a car window would not be considered legal on the front side windows and the windshield. This is because a 20% tint only allows 20% of light to pass through, which is well below the 70% light transmission requirement stated by the New York state law for these windows.

A tint measuring 70% would be legal on the front side windows and the windshield in New York, as it allows 70% of light to pass through, meeting the state’s legal requirement.

How to Get a Tint Exemption in New York

Smiling woman traveling with her tinted car around the city.

For individuals with specific medical conditions that require extra window tinting, an application for a medical exemption may be made. The application has to be supported by a physician statement, detailing the medical necessity for the tint. This process may vary, so you would need to contact the New York Department of Motor Vehicles for the most accurate guidance.

A 5% tint is not legal on front side windows and the windshield in New York. This tint only allows 5% of light to pass through, significantly less than the 70% light transmission requirement. For the back side windows and the rear window on sedans, the law does not specify a minimum light transmission requirement, so technically, a 5% tint might be legal there. For SUVs and vans, all windows must allow more than 70% light transmission.

Tint Ticket Cost in NY

The cost of a window tint violation in New York can vary depending on the severity of the violation and whether it’s a repeated offense. Generally, the fine for a first offense could range from $50 to $150. If the violation is deemed to be obstructing the driver’s view, the fine could be as high as $1,000. It’s crucial to verify this information as penalties can change.

Remember, regulations can and do change, so always consult with a knowledgeable source for the most current laws regarding window tinting in New York.


What Are The Benefits Of Window Tinting?

Window tinting offers a variety of benefits. Firstly, it helps block harmful UV rays, which can damage the car’s interior and lead to skin issues for passengers. Secondly, it can enhance privacy and security by preventing outsiders from seeing inside the vehicle.

Tints can also reduce the glare from sunlight and headlights, improving driving safety. Finally, it gives vehicles a sleek, aesthetic appeal.

Why Does New York Have Specific Laws For Window Tinting?

The primary reason is safety. The law is designed to ensure that drivers have sufficient visibility, especially at night or during poor weather conditions. It’s also aimed at enabling law enforcement officers to see inside vehicles during traffic stops or similar situations. Non-compliance with these laws may lead to visibility issues, contributing to potential accidents or compromising law enforcement efforts.

What Happens If I Don’t Comply With The Window Tint Laws In New York?

If your vehicle’s window tint does not comply with New York state laws, you risk facing penalties. These can range from fines to failing your vehicle inspection. Repeated offenses can lead to higher fines and potential legal complications. Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to ensure your vehicle’s tint adheres to the state regulations to avoid these potential repercussions.

Why Does New York Allow Medical Exemptions For Window Tint Laws?

Some individuals may have specific medical conditions, such as lupus or severe dermatological conditions, that make them exceptionally sensitive to sunlight. For such individuals, stricter window tinting might be medically necessary to prevent flare-ups or other medical issues. Therefore, New York laws provide a provision for medical exemptions to window tinting laws.

What’s The Difference In Tint Laws For Sedans And SUVs Or Vans In New York?

The difference primarily lies in the regulations for the back side windows and the rear window. For sedans, any darkness of tint can be used on these windows. However, for SUVs and vans, the law stipulates that the tint on these windows must allow more than 70% of light to pass through. This distinction may be due to the generally larger size of SUVs and vans, requiring more visibility for safe operation.

What Does A 70% Window Tint Mean?

When we say a window tint is 70%, we’re referring to the Visible Light Transmission (VLT) percentage. VLT is the amount of visible light that can pass through the window glass and the tinting film. A 70% tint means that 70% of light can pass through the tinted window, and 30% of the light is blocked.

Why Is There A Requirement For A Tint Certificate Or Sticker In New York?

The requirement for a tint certificate or sticker is primarily to help law enforcement quickly ascertain that a vehicle’s window tinting is legal. It’s particularly useful during routine traffic stops or vehicle inspections. If a vehicle has a valid tint certificate or sticker, it indicates that the vehicle’s window tint complies with New York’s regulations or the driver has been granted a medical exemption.


Complying with window tinting laws in New York is crucial to ensuring the safety of all road users and avoiding potential fines and penalties. Whether you’re considering tinting your car windows for the first time or have recently moved to New York with a tinted vehicle, familiarizing yourself with the specific state regulations is key.

These laws are designed to strike a balance between the benefits of window tinting, like UV protection and privacy, and the need for adequate visibility and law enforcement safety. As these regulations can change, it’s advisable to regularly check for updates from reputable sources, like the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, or seek advice from legal experts.

Avatar photo
About Matthew Webb

Hi, I am Matthew! I am a dedicated car nerd! During the day, I am a journalist, at night I enjoy working on my 2 project cars. I have been a car nerd all my life, and am excited to share my knowledge with you!