CHAPTER 146

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 147

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 7, OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO FINES PAYABLE BY MAIL.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Chapter 60, Title 7, Delaware Code, by adding thereto new sections to read as follows:

16061 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 established or promulgated under the authority of this Chapter, may in addition to
issuing a summons for any such offenses, provide the violator with a voluntary assessment form which, when properly executed by the officer, allows the offender to dispose of the charges without the necessity of personally appearing in the court to which the summons is returnable.

(a) Definitions. — (1) 'Payment', as used in this Section, shall mean the total amount of the fine and the costs as herein provided and 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, shall mean

the written agreement or document signed by the violator, wherein he/she agrees to pay by mail the fine for the offense described therein, together with costs and penalty assessment.

(a) 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 §6062 of this Title. 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.

(a) Offenses Designated as 'Offenses Subject to Voluntary Assessment'; Exceptions. — All offenses, as now or hereafter set forth in this Chapter, or regulations promulgated under the authority of this Chapter, are hereby designated as offenses subject to voluntary assessment except offenses under the jurisdiction of Superior Court.

(a) 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 a voluntary assessment. The alleged violator's signature on the voluntary assessment form constitutes an acknowledgment 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/her 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 as to be made that he/she wishes to withdraw his/her acceptance of the voluntary assessment and requests a hearing on the charge stated in the voluntary assessment form. If the alleged violator notifies the court of such withdrawal and request for hearing as aforesaid, he/she shall be prosecuted for the charge stated in the voluntary assessment form as if such form had not been issued.

(f) Penalty. - If an alleged violator elects the option of accepting a voluntary assessment in accordance with subsection (e) 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.

(g) 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.

(h) 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 a Department 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/her 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.

(i) 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 revocations 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 two-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 Chapter, 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.

(j) 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 in a manner 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 Chapter or other law relating to the particular violation charged, and 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.

(a) Non-exclusive Procedure. - The procedure prescribed is not exclusive of any other method prescribed by law for the arrest and prosecution of persons violating this Chapter.

§6062. Report to the Department

Any court or officer of any court, before whom any prosecution, under this part, is commenced or shall go on appeal, and within 20 days after trial or dismissal thereof, shall report, in writing, the result thereof and the amount of fine or forfeiture collected, if any, and the disposition thereof, to the Department, remitting at the same time all money collected from fines and forfeitures."

Approved July 10, 1991.