SENATE BILL NO. 574
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 13, TITLE 7 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MAIL-IN FINES FOR A VIOLATION OF CERTAIN GAME AND FISH LAWS AND SMALL BOAT SAFETY LAWS AND MOTORBOAT LAWS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (two-thirds of all members elected to each House concurring therein):
Section 1. Amend Chapter 13, Title 7 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new Section to read as follows:
"§1311. Fines Payable by Mail
(a) Applicability. Any duly constituted Environmental Protection Officer or peace officer in this State who charges any person with any of the offenses which are violations of laws or regulations establishing or promulgated under the authority of Parts 1 and 2 of this Title or Chapter 21 of Title 23, may, in addition to issuing a summons for any such offenses, provide the violator with a voluntary assessment form, when properly executed by the officer and the offender, allows the offender to dispose of the charges without the necessity of personally appearing in the court to which the summons is returnable.
(b) Definitions. (1) "Payment" as used in this section shall mean the total amount of the fine and of the costs as herein provided and of the penalty assessment added to the fine pursuant to the Delaware Victim Compensation Law, Chapter 90 of Title 11.
(2) "Voluntary assessment form" as used in this section means the written agreement or document signed by the violator wherein he agrees to pay by mail the fine for the offense described therein together with costs and penalty assessment.
(c) Places and Time of Payment. Payments made pursuant to this section shall be remitted to the court to which the summons is returnable and shall be disbursed in accordance with §1307 of this Chapter. The payment must be received by the court within 10 days from the date of arrest (excluding Saturday and Sunday) and shall be paid only by check or money order.
(d) Offenses Designated as "offenses subject to voluntary assessment"; exceptions. All offenses, as now or hereafter set forth in Title 7 or Title 23, or regulations promulgated under the authority of Title 7 or Title 23 are hereby designated as offenses subject to voluntary assessment except the following offenses:
(1) Violation of Section 103(f) of this Title
(f) Offer and Acceptance of Voluntary Assessment; Effect; Withdrawal of Acceptance; Request for Hearing. (1) At the time of making an arrest for any offense subject to this section, the arresting officer may offer the alleged violator the option of accepting voluntary assessment. The alleged violator's signature on the voluntary assessment form constitutes an acknowledgement of guilt of the offense stated in the form, and an agreement to pay the fine as herein provided, together with costs and penalty assessment, within 10 days from the date of arrest (excluding Saturday and Sunday) during which time payment must be received by the court.
(2) The alleged violator, after signing and receiving the voluntary assessment form, may withdraw his acceptance of the voluntary assessment and request a hearing on the charge stated in such form, provided that the alleged violator, within 10 days from the date of arrest (excluding Saturday and Sunday), personally or in writing notifies the court to which payment of the penalty assessment was to be made that he wishes to withdraw his acceptance of the voluntary assessment and requests a hearing on the charge stated in the voluntary assessment form. If the alleged violator notified the court of such withdrawal and request for hearing as aforesaid, he shall be prosecuted for the charge stated in the voluntary assessment form as if such form had
not been issued.
(g) Penalty. If an alleged violator elects the option of accepting a voluntary assessment in accordance with subsection (f) of this section, the penalty for offenses designated as offenses subject to voluntary assessment shall be the minimum fine for each specific offense charged, and fines shall be cumulative if more than 1 offense is charged.
(h) Court Costs and Applicability of Delaware Victim Compensation Law. In lieu of any other court
costs, and provided the offense is not subject to other proceedings under this section, each fine for an offense under this section shall be subject to court costs of $8.50. Each fine for an offense under this section shall be subject also to the penalty assessment which is or may be provided for in the,Delaware Victim Compensation Law, Chapter 90 of Title 11.
(i) Agreement to Accept Voluntary Assessment; Procedure. Whenever a person is arrested for commission of an offense subject to voluntary assessment and has elected to make payment as herein provided, the arresting officer, using the uniform fish and wildlife complaint and summons citation, shall complete the information section and prepare the voluntary assessment form indicating the amount of the fine, have the arrested person sign the voluntary assessment form, give a copy of the citation and form to the arrested person and release him from custody. The arresting officer shall also inform the arrested person of the court to which payment shall be submitted. No officer shall receive or accept custody of a payment. If the person declines to accept the voluntary assessment, the arresting officer shall follow the procedure for arrest as set forth in Chapter 19 of Title 11.
(j) Payment of Fine as Complete Satisfaction; Repeat Offenders.
(1) Payment of the prescribed fine, costs and penalty assessment. is a complete satisfaction of the violation, except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, but does not waive any administrative penalty in the nature of license revocation which may be lawfully revoked by the department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
(2) In the event that following compliance with the payment provisions of this section, it is determined that within the 2-year period immediately preceding the violation, the violator was convicted of or made a payment pursuant to this section in satisfaction of a violation of the same section of this title, personal appearance before the court to which the summons is returnable shall be required. Notice of the time and place for the required court appearance shall be given to the violator by the court to which the summons for the offense would be returnable.
(k) Removal from Applicability of Section.
(1) If a payment due pursuant to this section is not received by the court to which the summons is
returnable within 10 days from the date of arrest excluding Saturday and Sunday), the violator shall be prosecuted for the offense charged on the voluntary assessment form inamanner as if a voluntary assessment form had not been issued. Upon conviction in such prosecution, the court shall impose penalties as provided for by this title and Title 23 of the Delaware Code or other law relating to the particular violation charged, and the provisions of this section as to payment of fines under voluntary assessments shall not apply.
(2) In addition to the penalties provided for in paragraph (1) of this subsection, it is a class B misdemeanor, punishable as provided by Title 11, for any person, who has elected to make payment pursuant to this section, to fail to do so within 10 days (excluding Saturday and Sunday) from the date of arrest.
(1) Nonexclusive Procedure. The procedure prescribed is not exclusive of any other method prescribed by law for the arrest and prosecution of persons violating this title."
Approved June 29, 1978.