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Could your car’s window tinting lead to a DUI arrest?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2023 | Drunk Driving

Some states disallow the use of tint on automobile windshields and front seat windows. Maryland, however, permits you to have tinted front windows on passenger and commercial vehicles alike, as long as you know the rules:

  • Windshields can have about five inches of tinting starting at the top of the glass
  • Front seat windows may be tinted so long as they allow at least 35% light transmittance
  • Reflective and sparkling window tint is against the law

Now, say a police officer stops you because your windows are tinted too much. After a battery of field sobriety tests, they charge you with driving under the influence of alcohol.

How can cops do this? 

The police may stop a vehicle when they suspect its driver is violating a law, including window tint rules. Sometimes during a stop for something else (like tinting), police officers see evidence of possible intoxication, such as open alcohol containers. They may then test you to determine if you are drunk. If you fail these tests, you will likely face DUI charges.

The example of window tinting illustrates how easy it is for the police to establish reasonable suspicion, an element required in legal traffic stops. Sometimes, however, police officers pull people over for a weak reason (possibly illegal window tinting, for example), or they may violate your rights during the stop. 

Often, it is possible to avoid a DUI conviction by challenging the traffic stop in such situations. If the police cannot prove reasonable suspicion, you might be able to overcome the charges entirely. Guidance from someone familiar with Maryland DUI laws can help your case.