Officers not in dark regarding tint violations

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

VIDALIA &045;&045; If your car windows are darker than allowed by Louisiana law, watch out: the police are on to you.

Vidalia police have not increased patrols, but citations for improper tint have abounded lately as officers have become more aware of the offense.

In Louisiana, the limit for tint is 40 percent and 35 percent in Mississippi, Vidalia Capt. Frank Webb said.

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Two patrol cars have tint meters, which can be placed on the top of a rolled down window to determine the percent of tint.

While police will issue tickets for disobeying the law, they do, also, respect the different percentages in different states.

&uot;We have to allow for that because they are next door,&uot; said Police Chief Billy Hammers.

But that has not been a problem. &uot;We are finding them anywhere from 2 to 16 (percent),&uot; Webb said, which is dangerous to the driver, other drivers and the police.

One reason is because police approaching a car that dark cannot see in it to detect any dangers they might walk on, including someone with a gun.

&uot;The biggest thing the police have against it is you can’t see in the vehicle,&uot; Webb said. In addition, &uot;when it starts getting dusk, dark or there is inclement weather, (the tint) limits (drivers’) visibility,&uot; Webb said.

Drivers with illegal tint can be ticketed and the first offense is about $91, Webb said.

On the second offense, a ticket will be issued but a judge also will be notified, Webb said, and the judge can order it removed.

If the tint is a hazard, the vehicle can be impounded, Webb said, but none have been so far.

The dark tint also could prevent one from getting an inspection sticker.

One of the ways many people get their tint too dark is by not realizing cars from the factory already come tinted, just not very much, Hammers said. By adding more tint, the amount can be above what is legal. Webb said people might think it is legal just because someone will install it, but that is not always true.

Exclusions from the Louisiana 40 percent law can be made for people with severe eye problems. Also vehicles, like police cars, that are registered to a municipality can have a darker tint for undercover work.

One way this is helpful is if an informant is in a car to help police, no one driving by will know the person is in the car with police. This can be helpful with narcotics patrols.

And mirrored tint is against the law in Louisiana altogether.