You binge-watched your favorite season of CSI, downing the last of your favorite craft beer. Making a run to the store, the police stopped you. They said your new car’s tinted windows were too dark. The smell of alcohol then led to your DUI arrest.

Can the officer stop you because of the tinted windows? The answer is, under certain circumstances, yes.

In Illinois, you may have tinted car windows, but there are restrictions. Violating those restrictions may give police probable cause for the stop.

Under 625 ILCS 5/12-503(a-5), no window treatment or tinting may be applied to the windows immediately adjacent to each side of the driver seat except:

      1. Where none of the windows behind the driver’s seat allow less than 30% light transmittance, you may use a non-reflective tinted film that allows at least 50% light transmittance, with a 5% variance observed by any law enforcement official metering the light transmittance.
      2. Where the windows behind the driver’s seat allow less than 35% light, the tinted film must allow at least 35% light transmittance with a 5% variance.
      3. Where the manufacturer originally installed a non-reflective smoked or tinted glass on the windows behind the driver’s seat, you may use a non-reflective tint that allows at least 50% light transmittance, with a 5% variance.

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A recent Illinois case examined whether an officer must use a meter to measure the light transmittance. In People v. Dunmire, the officer did not use a meter but testified that he could not see anything through the defendant’s windows. The court upheld the stop stating that an officer need not be able to describe what windows within the above percentages look like, as long as the officer can describe (1) the general differences between legally and illegally tinted windows and (2) the facts that made the particular window appear illegally tinted under the particular circumstances in which it was viewed.

Prior to 2010, Illinois law did not permit any tint on the front driver’s or passenger’s
side windows.

If you have been charged with a DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Were your windows within the legal limits? If so, an attorney may be able to bring a motion to suppress the evidence from the police stop.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois DUI or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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