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Window Tint Illegal?

From my column on November 12, 2012, in the Houston Home Journal:

Contrary to popular myth, there is no Georgia law on how dark you can tint your windows. On your house, that is. In your car, there are some laws. Using O.C.G.A. Sec. 40-8-73.1 as my guide, these are the laws that apply to that window tint.

First rule, if you drive a gangsta car, don’t tint your windows. That’s not a law, just common sense. Why give the cops yet another reason to stop you? A friend of mine recently got a speeding ticket in a sporty little black car, jacked down, dark tinted windows, and neon lights underneath. He had swapped the car with a friend of his son’s while they used his truck. So he was driving “probable cause” when he was stopped. That’ll get you a ticket every time, even if you are 50 years old. I suggested he pay the ticket instead of embarrassingly admitting in open court to driving that car.

Second rule, window tint on the side windows or rear window cannot limit light transmission by more than 32%, plus or minus 3%. Obviously a qualified window tint installer can tell you how much tint that is. Most police officers have a tool that will measure the light transmission as well. However, if you are drunk, that is not a good time to ask the officer to test your windows. It’s happened.

Third rule, bumper stickers on your rear window are illegal. I wouldn’t tell you this if it weren’t true. Now most cops aren’t going to bother you on this issue, but there is no exception to the light transmission rule for the rear window on a passenger car. A sticker supporting the PBA or local sheriff is probably a good idea, even if you don’t.

Fourth rule, become a member of the Georgia Legislature and none of the rules above apply to you. Seriously. If you’re going to write a law restricting people’s ability to engage in free speech, make sure to exempt yourself from that law.

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