Q: I was at a local window tint shop and was told that I could have glazing material placed on my vehicle’s front windows but I could not have window tint on the front windows. What is glazing material and how is it different from window tint?
A: Glazing material is a compound that is usually affixed to window glass to improve the efficiency of the window. These types of windows are commonly found in homes and businesses that strive to be more energy efficient. The windows may be labeled as “Low-e” which is short for low-emittance of energy transfer and solar control. The glazing material blocks the transfer of energy or heat from a dwelling and allows places to stay cooler when it’s warm outside and warmer when it’s cool outside without the additional use of appliances such as heaters and air conditioners. Glazing materials in windows help reduce your energy usage.
Window tint is a thin film applied to windows to block sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. It should be noted that the windows already installed on your vehicle are made with glazing materials that block UV rays. The California Vehicle Code allows provisions for additional glazing material to be used on vehicle windows, but there are restrictions and requirements that need to be adhered to in order for it to be lawful. The provisions for glazing material can be found in section 26708(d) of the California Vehicle Code. You can visit the California Department of Motor Vehicle’s web site at www.dmv.ca.gov for more information regarding glazing material.
Glazing material should not be confused with window tinting film. Tinting any window that is forward or aside the driver (in other words the front windshield and front driver or passenger windows) is against the law. The regulation for tinted windows can be found in section 26708(a) of the California Vehicle Code. This section states in part that no person shall drive a motor vehicle with any object or material placed, installed, or applied upon the windshield or side windows. Any window located behind the driver may be tinted but only if the vehicle has rearview mirrors installed on the right and left side.
If your front windows are tinted and you are stopped by the police, you could receive a citation for being in violation of the law. Usually for first time offenders, the citation issued would be a notice to correct, commonly known as a “fix it” ticket. These types of violations are not considered “moving” violations and may not affect your driving record if handled properly. If you receive a notice to correct, you must first fix the violation (i.e. have the window tint removed) and have an authorized person sign the “Certificate of Correction” part of your ticket. A police officer, sheriff deputy, or CHP officer are all examples of authorized persons. Take the proof of correction to the court and pay the dismissal fee before the deadline. You can check your ticket or contact the court to see if the court accepts proof of correction by mail. The court will then dismiss your case and it won’t go on your record.
If you fail to fix the problem or violation, you could receive additional penalties and increased fines.
Q: I was on 14th Street and San Vicente in Santa Monica and was stopped by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for a traffic violation. Does the CHP have the authority to stop me when I’m not on a freeway?
A: Yes. California is one of many states that allow police officers, sheriff deputies, and highway patrol officers to maintain their peace officer powers throughout the entire state. In essence there are generally no jurisdiction boundaries for all peace officers in California. That being said, a CHP officer has the same authority to initiate traffic stops on streets as they do on freeways. The same rule applies to police officers and sheriff deputies. Let’s take a look at another scenario. If you were in Santa Monica and a Culver City police officer observed you fail to stop for a red light, the Culver City police officer has the authority to stop you even though you’re in Santa Monica. It should be noted that it is very common to see officers from the Culver City Police Department in Santa Monica at traffic court.
With that said, it is best to always drive safely, lawfully and courteously no matter where you are. Peace officers have a responsibility to protect the safety of all citizens, and are granted the authority to carry out their duties anywhere in California in order to do so.
This column was prepared by NRO Mike Boyd, Beat 8 (Pico Neighborhood). He can be reached by phone at (424) 200-0688 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.