Sonny Perdue signed legislation this past Monday
From The Macon TelegraphThe window tinting bill revives a law thrown out last year by the Georgia Supreme Court, which held it was unconstitutionally applied only to Georgia drivers—not out-of-state drivers passing through Georgia. The new law applies to all drivers on Georgia roads.
The law makes it illegal to apply material to car windshields or to the windows to the right and left of the driver which reduce light transmission to less than 32 percent or which increase light reflectance to more than 20 percent.
Violating the law carries misdemeanor penalties.
Under a law reborn this week, enforcement officers can now stop drivers with overly tinted windows, according to the Georgia State Patrol.
Drivers can still "dark it out," to some extent. That extent is just defined by law.
Window tinting can't "reduce light transmission through the windshield or window to less than 32 percent, plus or minus 3 percent, or increase light reflectance to more than 20 percent," according to the law, passed this year by the General Assembly and signed by the governor this week.
If that's not clear, well:
"If you think your windows are too dark, ask a trooper or officer," said Trooper 1st Class Larry Schnall, spokesman for the GSP.
"If you've got the dark windows, you're definitely subject to being stopped, anytime, anywhere," Schnall said.
The state patrol plans a grace period and troopers will issue warnings until June 1, Schnall said. After that, over-tinting is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and/or one year in jail.
Many tint shops keep light meters on hand to test windows. At others, tinters said they can pretty much tell by looking at a window whether it's too dark. Good thing, since the law also holds them responsible for over-tinted windows, too.
The new law replaces a similar one thrown out last year by the Georgia Supreme Court because it did not apply to drivers registered outside the state. The new one does. It was written to protect law enforcement officers, who need to be able to see into cars they pull over, Schnall said.
Herb Locher, who owns a tint shop on Mercer University Drive, said he sees no problem with the law.
"What if you were an officer and you pulled over somebody and you can't seem them?" Locher said.
Quinton Braswell, who owns a tint and detail shop on Houston Avenue, said the law is "not right."
"I think people should put whatever they feel they should put on their vehicle," Braswell said. "I don't think they're harming anybody ... that just gives (police) a reason to stop people on the street."
Tinting gives car riders a bit more privacy. It keeps them a little cooler in the sun. Some just like the looks.
"A lot of folks get it just for profilin'," said Kenneth Lee, who details cars at Cassidy's in downtown Macon (and whose own sedan has windows tinted, he said, at 20 percent, just the limit). "Just riding in your car with your nice wheels and your tint."
Trooper Brian Abney, with the GSP's Perry post, said the law will definitely be enforced in Middle Georgia, though not like "speeding or stop lights or DUI."
The law contains exceptions for buses, limousines, law enforcement vehicles and vehicles that came from the factory with tinted windows.
That last exception was put in because, unlike tint jobs applied to the glass later, factory tinting can typically be removed only by replacing the glass, Schnall said. Drivers can also apply for a medical exemption if they need to be shielded from the sun, but it requires a doctor's note.