anyone ever get a headlight ticket?

LED headlights retrofitted into Halogen equipped cars is technically illegal.

For damn good reasons. They're flatly unsafe.

Halogen lamps need to use halogen bulbs. The "LED bulbs" now flooding the market, claiming to convert halogen headlamps to LED, are not a legitimate, safe, effective, or legal product. No matter whose name is on them or what the vendor claims, these are a fraudulent scam. They are not capable of producing the right amounts of light, nor producing it in the right pattern for the lamp's optics to work.

This is not like trying out different bulbs in the kitchen or living room or garage, where all it has to do is light up in a way we find adequate and pleasing. Headlamps aren't just flood or spot lights; even the cheapest, most minimal headlamp is a precision optical instrument. They have a complex, difficult job to do in terms of simultaneously putting light where it's needed, keeping it away from where it's harmful, and controlling the amounts of light at numerous locations within the beam to appropriate levels (too much light in certain areas is just as dangerous as not enough). Headlamps cannot just spray out a random blob of light, and that's what they do with anything other than the intended correct kind of light source.

But has anyone ever gotten a fix it ticket for using them

Car lights are life-safety devices. Too many people treat them as fashion toys and weapons and dick-substitutes. "HID kits", "LED bulbs", misaimed lamps, light bars in traffic, black tint on lights, skeezy Chinese lite-shaped trinkets in place of real working lamps, etc. Not nearly enough tickets are written for it.

(My car's lights are kept in good condition. Not necessarily perfect, because work doesn't do itself/groceries aren't free/parts cost money/the garbage don't take itself out/sleep is necessary. But overall mine tend to work better than average for the kind of car I'm driving, in ways that let me see better but without creating safety hazards/glare for others, because thizz what I do. All that said, if I ever get a faulty-lights ticket I'm going to frame it and put it on my wall because LOL)

Just about every article written about this gets it wrong. "Oh, yay, we're about to get the adaptive-beam headlamps they've had in Europe for a decade, hooray!" That would be nice, because the damn things work, but that's not what's actually happening.

ADB = adaptive driving beam (sometimes called glare-free high beam) is a camera-driven system which detects and keeps track of the presence and position of other traffic participants and dynamically shadows them out of what is otherwise a high-beam light pattern. Theoretically (and practically, outside the United States) it is a long-needed resolution to the century-old headlighting conflict between seeing and glare; it provides high-beam seeing with low-beam glare—but the U.S. standard deliberately, artificially retains the constraints inherent to fixed, nonadaptive high/low beam headlighting systems. Low beams are flatly inadequate to the task we ask of them (and so pedestrians die at night), but high beams are too glaring to use when others are around. The whole point of ADB is to finally resolve that conflict by making those constraints obsolete, and yet here comes NHTSA (the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency that sets US motor vehicle safety standards) to preserve those constraints, on purpose, after an indefensible amount of delay. This can only be called regulatory malpractice.

Years ago, NHTSA asked the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Lighting Systems Group to translate the rest-of-world ADB technical standard into terms compatible with the US legal system and regulatory framework. The SAE LSG did a highly outstanding job of that, in record time. Then NHTSA sat on it for years before rejecting it for reasons that do not withstand informed technical scrutiny, and instead releasing their own severely problematic technical standard as a proposal. Everyone howled in protest, which is a hell of a thing—parties often in conflict (automakers, suppliers, insurance industry, safety researchers, consumer watchdogs, etc) were all on the same side this time; there were no conflicting interests for NHTSA to have to resolve. All they had to do was say yes. They failed to do so, just kept dragging their feet.

Then last year ('22), the U.S. Congress passed the Infrastructure Act, which contained blackletter language ordering NHTSA to allow ADB in accord with SAE J3069. NHTSA disobeyed this direct order and adopted their own standard, which they justified by claiming it is 'more stringent' and thus better than the SAE standard, and therefore, they say, their action complies with the intent of the congressional directive.

But the NHTSA standard is _not_ more stringent (which would mean it requires better performance in one or more ways), it's more _restrictive_ (which means it imposes constraints and requirements on system design and performance without concommitant safety benefit) . So much so that it kicks the legs out from under ADB. It requires a more costly, less performant system than is allowed everywhere else in the world. It amounts to "Sure, go ahead and put ADB on your cars, as long as it's not ADB". A system designed to the US ADB standard—if such a system can be devised without violating other requirements of the US lighting standard, which is not at all clear—cannot provide much (if any) of the benefit ADB was devised to provide. To give one example of how poorly conceived the NHTSA rule is, there are such conflicts between the ADB requirements and the static/fixed low beam requirements (all of which must be met by an ADB-capable headlamp) that the current consensus among automakers and headlamp manufacturers is that technically extreme solutions would be needed to comply with both, such as installing a little motor on each headlamp to tip the headlamp aim down during certain vehicle operation conditions, such as certain steering wheel angles, to eliminate the conflict. This is an enormous amount of cost and complexity to add to a headlamp, just to comply with a faulty requirement, and with absolutely zero safety benefit.

And all of this while the rest-of-world UN standard has been working beautifully, preventing crashes and saving lives and making night driving a whole hell of a lot easier and more pleasant, without creating new problems, for years in…erm…the rest of the world.

Even in Canada, where regulations are generally kept nearly identical to the US rules because of the deep integration of the two countries' auto markets and manufacturing sectors. Transport Canada, eager to unlock for Canadian motorists the significant safety benefits offered by ADB, grew tired of NHTSA's foot-dragging and legalized both the SAE and the rest-of-world UN ADB standards in 2019.

Im trying to make a custom grill and they are going to be lower than 24"

Vehicle owners are not regulated parties under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards—vehicles in service, and their owners, are handled by state-level regulations. Some states' vehicle lighting codes basically say "Car lights on vehicles registered in this state must conform to the federal standard", but other states have their own homebrewed (usually up in the hills in a still made of old radiators and bathtubs) lighting codes, many poorly written in the 1930s-'40s and not updated since then. So as the saying goes, Check your local laws before blahbitty blah blah.

California's vehicle equipment code states A motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, shall be equipped with at least two headlamps, with at least one on each side of the front of the vehicle […] located directly above or in advance of the front axle of the vehicle. The headlamps and every light source in any headlamp unit shall be located at a height of not more than 54 inches nor less than 22 inches.

Okeh, so not less than 22 inches. To…what? The lower edge of the headlamp? The optical centre of the headlamp? Could make a sturdy argument in favour of either, but the stronger argument is that the 22-inch figure applies to the optical centre of the headlamp, because that's where the light source is located. Which would place the lower edge of the headlamp lower than 22 inches, now, wouldn't it? Suppose you're using a 7-inch round headlamp, either a sealed beam or something that actually lets you see where you're going. The light source (bulb) is smack in the middle. The radius of a ø7" circle is 3.5", so if you put the light source right at 22 inches off the ground, the lower edge of the headlamp is going to be 18.5" off the ground.

But which is the correct argument? Neither. Either. Both. The statute is ambiguous.