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Can auto dealers be charged for too much window tint?

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Question: I know somebody that bought a car recently and the windows had an illegal amount of tint on it when they bought it.  I heard somewhere that the auto dealer can be charged with a violation, is that correct?

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Answer: What you heard is correct. The law changed in 2009.  I will list what applies to auto dealers:  Minnesota State Statute (MSS) 168.27 sub.30 states:

“A new motor vehicle dealer, used motor vehicle dealer, or motor vehicle lessor may not sell or lease a motor vehicle at retail for registration in Minnesota that does not meet the glazing material requirements under section 169.71, subdivision four.”

Also according to MSS 169.71 Sub.5(a) “No person shall sell or offer for sale or use on any motor vehicle, windows or windshields that are composed of, covered by, or treated with material that fails to comply with the provisions of subdivision four. No person shall apply or offer to apply, as part of a business transaction, material to motor vehicle windows or windshields that fails to comply with the provisions of subdivision four.”  This states that those people or businesses that apply an illegal amount of tint are also in violation.  Those that violate this can be charged with a misdemeanor.

This does not mean that you are automatically exempt from a citation yourself.  As the driver/owner of a vehicle, you can be held accountable and cited also.  Law Enforcement can and does follow up on issues regarding tint but if you do have problems down the road, you may be looking at a civil matter with the business you dealt with.  If you purchase a vehicle that has tinted windows and would like to know if you are legal, here is what I suggest.  Stop in at a Minnesota State Patrol office, Sheriff’s office, or your local police department.  Most agencies and officers are equipped with tint meters and would be able to let you know what your tint level is at.  I’ve been approached several times when fueling up my squad car and am always glad to provide some insight.  It’s better to find out sooner than later (red lights in the rear view mirror) that you need to make the necessary changes.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.  (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).

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