MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - There's a good chance your car has tinted windows and it could mean a costly ticket. They give you privacy, but they might need to be checked.
These days, a lot of car windows come from the factory already tinted, and a lot of used cars have tinted windows. But here's the thing, per state law, car dealerships don't have to make sure the windows are legal and that could leave you on the hook.
In Tennessee, tinted windows can't allow less than 35 percent of light into the car.
Police tend to measure it with a certain device.
Rodrick Matthews runs his own tinting business. He says officers are actually looking for a percentage of 28 or higher since there's natural tint already on the glass before the film goes on.
"People think that just because you can see in the vehicle it's not illegal, but tint shows up different on every vehicle," Matthews says.
That's why you need to be careful at the dealership, where tint may or may not be checked, especially when it comes to used cars.
"They're getting them in from all different places and sometimes the state regulations in those places could be different from Tennessee," Matthews says.
A ticket could cost you hundreds of dollars. So, make sure you get assurance from the dealership before you buy.
"If it's a tint package that comes with that vehicle, in writing it needs to say what they've applied to that vehicle," Matthews says, "You need in writing that that's legal film applied."
Matthews feels sorry for unsuspecting people who wind up with tickets but acknowledges the need for the law. After all, it keeps officers safe.
"If they walk up to a vehicle that they can't see in that person could have a pistol on them and they not know it," Matthews says.
If your car isn't registered in Tennessee, you just need to make sure the tint on your windows satisfies the requirements in that state.