Rhode Island Window Tinting Laws

Darkest legal tint for Sedans in Rhode Island

  • Windshield: Non-reflective tint allowed on the top 6 inches.
  • Front Side windows: Must allow more than 70% of light in.
  • Back Side windows: Must allow more than 70% of light in.
  • Rear window: Must allow more than 70% of light in.

Darkest legal tint for SUV and Vans in Rhode Island

  • Windshield: Non-reflective tint allowed on the top 6 inches.
  • Front Side windows: Must allow more than 70% of light in.
  • Back Side windows: Must allow more than 70% of light in.
  • Rear window: Must allow more than 70% of light in.

Rhode Island Tinting Regulations

Photo of a sleek car with tinted windows on a Rhode Island road
Photo of a sleek car with tinted windows on a Rhode Island road

Rhode Island’s window tinting laws were first enacted in 2000. Since then, they have provided guidelines on how dark or reflective a vehicle’s tint can be. The laws are specific and vary depending on the type of vehicle, be it a sedan or an SUV.

Understanding VLT (Visible Light Transmission) The percentage of light that can pass through your car windows in Rhode Island is determined by the VLT. It’s crucial to understand this term, as the state has specific VLT percentages for different vehicle types.

Reflection and Glare Window tints can reflect incoming light, which can help reduce glare and heat inside the vehicle. However, Rhode Island’s laws do not specify any reflection restrictions for either sedans or SUVs and vans.

Other Essential Regulations to Note

  • Side Mirrors: There are no restrictions on side mirrors in Rhode Island.
  • Tint Colors: All tint colors are permissible in the state.
  • Certificates: Film manufacturers don’t need to certify the films they sell in Rhode Island.
  • Stickers: There’s no legal requirement for a sticker to identify legal tinting.
  • Medical Exceptions: Rhode Island does provide medical exemptions for special tints. It’s advisable to consult the state law for specific exemption terms.
  • Penalties: Non-compliance with the tinting laws can result in fines up to $250 per offense.

Medical Exemptions for Rhode Island Tint Laws

Photo of a vehicle with heavily tinted windows
Photo of a vehicle with heavily tinted windows on a road with Rhode Island’s landscape in the background.

For some individuals, exposure to sunlight can exacerbate existing medical conditions or lead to severe discomfort. Conditions such as lupus, photosensitivity, melanoma, and other skin disorders can make direct sunlight harmful. Tinted windows can significantly reduce UV exposure, making travel more comfortable and safer for those affected.

How to Obtain a Medical Exemption in Rhode Island

  1. Medical Affidavit: The first step is to obtain an affidavit signed by a licensed physician or optometrist. This affidavit should state that the individual has a physical condition that makes it necessary to equip their vehicle with a sunscreening device that might exceed the standard regulations.
  2. Application to the DMV: Once the affidavit is obtained, the individual can apply to the Division of Motor Vehicles in Rhode Island. Along with the affidavit, the application will be reviewed, and if approved, the DMV will issue a sticker.
  3. Sticker Placement: This sticker, which identifies the vehicle’s exemption status, should be placed on the driver’s side window. It serves as a quick reference for law enforcement officers, ensuring that they’re aware of the vehicle’s exemption status during traffic stops or inspections.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • The medical exemption is specific to the individual, not the vehicle. This means that if the vehicle is sold or transferred to another owner, the new owner would need to comply with the standard window tinting regulations unless they too have a valid medical exemption.
  • It’s essential to keep the medical affidavit and any related documentation in the vehicle at all times. This can be helpful during any interactions with law enforcement or if questions arise regarding the window tint’s legality.

Window Film Certificates and Stickers In Rhode Island

Photo of a car's tinted window in Rhode Island
Photo of a car’s tinted window in Rhode Island. Close-up view of a window film certificate and sticker affixed to the lower corner of the window.

In many states, including Rhode Island, window film certificates and stickers serve as proof that a vehicle’s window tint is within the legal limits. They act as a quick reference for law enforcement officers during traffic stops or inspections, ensuring that drivers are adhering to state regulations.

Certificates in Rhode Island

In some states, film manufacturers are required to certify the window film they sell, ensuring it meets specific standards. However, in Rhode Island, film manufacturers are not mandated to certify the film they sell. This means that while the film itself might not come with a certificate of compliance, it’s still the vehicle owner’s responsibility to ensure that the tinting on their vehicle adheres to Rhode Island’s regulations.

Stickers in Rhode Island

Stickers, on the other hand, are often placed on vehicles to identify legal tinting. In some states, once a vehicle’s window tint has been inspected and found to be within legal limits, a sticker is placed on the vehicle as proof of compliance. However, in Rhode Island, there’s no legal requirement for a sticker to identify legal tinting. This doesn’t mean that stickers aren’t used; it simply means they aren’t mandated by the state.

Why Don’t We Need Certificates and Stickers in Rhode Island?

The absence of mandatory certificates and stickers might seem odd, but it’s essential to remember that each state has its approach to regulating window tinting. Rhode Island’s decision not to require these items might be based on various factors, including administrative considerations and the state’s confidence in its residents to comply with the law.

Staying Compliant

Even without the need for certificates and stickers, vehicle owners in Rhode Island must ensure their window tinting is compliant with state regulations. This includes adhering to the specific Visible Light Transmission (VLT) percentages set by the state and ensuring that any medical exemptions are appropriately documented.

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Penalties or Ticket Cost for Illegal Window Tint in Rhode Island

Photo of a close-up of a ticket being handed
Photo of a close-up of a ticket being handed to a driver through a heavily tinted car window in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island takes its window tinting regulations seriously. The state has set clear penalties for both those who install non-compliant window tinting and those who own vehicles with illegal tint.

  1. For Installers: Any firm, corporation, or individual who installs window tinting that doesn’t meet the state’s regulations can be fined. The penalty? A whopping two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for each offense. This means that if an installer tints multiple vehicles with non-compliant material, they could be looking at multiple fines.
  2. For Vehicle Owners: If you’re a vehicle owner with illegal window tint, you’re not off the hook. Owners of vehicles with non-compliant window tinting can also be fined up to two hundred fifty dollars ($250). This serves as a deterrent, encouraging vehicle owners to ensure their tint meets state regulations.

Why Such Steep Penalties?

You might be wondering why Rhode Island has such strict penalties for non-compliant window tinting. The primary reason is safety. Overly dark or reflective tints can reduce visibility, especially at night, increasing the risk of accidents. By setting clear penalties, the state aims to ensure that all vehicles on the road are safe and compliant.

Avoiding the Fine

The best way to avoid getting ticketed for illegal window tint is simple: stay informed and ensure your vehicle’s tint meets Rhode Island’s regulations. Before getting your windows tinted, research the state’s requirements or consult with a reputable tinting service. If you’ve recently moved to Rhode Island or purchased a vehicle from out of state, it’s a good idea to check the tint and ensure it’s compliant.


While Rhode Island’s window tinting laws are clear, it’s always a good idea to double-check with local DMV or law enforcement authorities to ensure you have the most recent and accurate information. Whether you’re a resident or just passing through, staying informed and compliant ensures a hassle-free driving experience in the Ocean State.

State of Rhode Island Info

Rhode Island, often referred to as “The Ocean State” due to its extensive coastline, is located in the New England region of the Northeastern United States. It’s the smallest state by area and the seventh-least populous. Despite its name, most of Rhode Island is on the mainland. The state’s capital and most populous city is Providence.

The history of Rhode Island is rich and varied. Native Americans lived around Narragansett Bay for thousands of years before English settlers began arriving in the early 17th century. Founded by Roger Williams, a refugee fleeing religious persecution, Rhode Island became a haven for religious liberty. It was the first colony to call for a Continental Congress in 1774 and the first to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown in 1776. After the American Revolution, Rhode Island was the last of the original 13 states to ratify the United States Constitution in 1790.

The state’s economy flourished during the Gilded Age, attracting many immigrants and leading to urbanization. Rhode Island played a significant role during the American Civil War, being the first Union state to send troops. The 20th century saw Rhode Island grappling with issues like the Ku Klux Klan’s influence, the Great Depression, and the challenges of the modern era, including the tragic nightclub fire in West Warwick in 2003.

Geography and Climate

Rhode Island covers an area of 1,214 square miles and is bordered by Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean. Narragansett Bay is a major feature, containing over 30 islands. The state’s topography is mostly flat, with its highest point being Jerimoth Hill at 812 feet above sea level. Most of Rhode Island experiences a humid continental climate, with warm summers and cold winters, while its southern coastal regions transition into subtropical climates.

Did You Know?

  1. Name Origins: The origin of the name “Rhode Island” is not entirely clear. Some theories suggest it was named after the island of Rhodes off the coast of Greece, while others believe it was named due to its “reddish appearance.”
  2. Religious Freedom: Rhode Island was unique among the Thirteen British Colonies for its emphasis on religious freedom. Roger Williams, its founder, established the first settlement in North America with an explicitly secular government.
  3. Gilded Age Prosperity: The period after the Civil War was Rhode Island’s “halcyon era.” The state was a hub during the Gilded Age, with many of the country’s industrialists building grand mansions in Newport.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the legal tint limit for cars in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, the legal limit for window tint on a car’s windows is rated at 70% visibility.

Are there any exceptions to the Rhode Island tint laws?

Yes, there are exceptions in Rhode Island General Law 31-23.3-4 for certain conditions that might require darker tints.

What happens if my car’s tint doesn’t meet the legal requirements during inspection?

Cars that do not meet the legal tint requirements may fail the state inspection. Some residents have reported needing to remove their tints to pass the inspection.

How do I know if my tint is compliant with Rhode Island laws?

Tints should have a total visible light transmittance of not less than seventy percent (70%). It’s advisable to consult with a professional tint installer to ensure compliance.

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