Law Enforcement Bulletin

Sign up for newsletters and other news
Media > Newsletters > Law Enforcement Bulletin > June 2016 > State v. Hall, 2016 Ohio 3273

Law Enforcement Bulletin RSS feeds

State v. Hall, 2016 Ohio 3273

Question: Can excessive window tint on a vehicle form the basis of reasonable, articulable suspicion for a traffic stop?

Quick Answer: Yes, whether pretextual or not, a window tint violation may form the basis for a traffic stop.

Facts: Two officers were sitting in a parking lot of an apartment complex when they observed Hall pull in and park near them. Both noted the dark tint on the car windows that prohibited them from seeing through the windows. Both began to approach Hall, who was exiting the car. One officer opened the driver’s door in order to use a “tint meter” to measure the window tint. Upon doing so, he smelled a strong odor of burnt marijuana. Simultaneously, the second officer discovered Hall’s driver’s license was suspended. After establishing their intent to arrest Hall for the suspended license, they inventoried his vehicle and found marijuana and a loaded handgun in the console. Hall filed a motion to suppress the evidence, but the trial court overruled the motion. After being found guilty of weapons under disability and carrying a concealed weapon, Hall appealed. On appeal, Hall argued that the officers did not have reasonable suspicion to stop him. The appeals court reaffirmed that a traffic stop for a window tint violation is lawful. 

Keep in Mind: Ohio law requires that, where windows are tinted, 70 percent of light pass through a windshield and 50 percent of light pass through the front side windows.