CHAPTER 405

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 95

AS AMENDED BY

HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 2

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLES 7 AND 21 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO PARKING.

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

Section 1. Amend § 4702(g) of Title 7 of the Delaware Code by deleting the phrase “by an arresting officer in lieu of the arrest of the owner or operator of such vehicle” and replacing it with the phrase “by an authorized officer”.

Section 2. Further amend § 4702(g) of Title 7 of the Delaware Code by deleting subsections (1)-(3) and replacing them with the following:

“(1) The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control may adopt a schedule of civil penalties, between a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $25, for all violations delineated by its rules and regulations for parking in State parks. No court costs or other administrative fee shall be assessed if a civil penalty is paid by voluntary assessment.

(2) Any violation of this subsection shall be subject to a civil penalty only. Such violations shall not be classified as a criminal offense and shall not qualify as a prior conviction for purposes of § 4218(c)(1)(f) of Title 11, whether or not such violation occurred prior to the enactment of this paragraph.

(3)(A) Payment by voluntary assessment. An owner or operator shall pay the amount on the summons to the voluntary assessment center listed on the summons, which center may be either a voluntary assessment center established by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control or the Justice of the Peace Court Voluntary Assessment Center. In lieu of payment, an owner or operator may notify the applicable voluntary assessment center, within the time period specified on the summons, that he or she requests a hearing in the Justice of the Peace Court. No court costs or other administrative fee shall be assessed if a civil penalty is paid by voluntary assessment. The penalty assessment pursuant to the Delaware Victim Compensation law, Chapter 90 of Title 11, shall not be assessed on civil penalties pursuant to this subsection. Moneys received either through voluntary assessment or after a hearing shall be disbursed in accordance with § 1307 of this Title.

(B) Presumptions. (1) If any vehicle found to be in violation of this subsection is unattended at the time the violation is discovered and the identity of the operator is not otherwise apparent, the person in whose name such vehicle is registered as the owner shall be held responsible for such violation, unless the owner can furnish evidence that the vehicle was, at the time of the violation, in the care, custody or control of another person. Such presumption shall be rebutted if the owner: (i) prior to the due date furnishes to the voluntary assessment center either: (a) an affidavit stating that he or she was not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation and provides the name and address of the person, or company who leased, rented or otherwise had the care, custody or control of the vehicle; or (b) attaches a certified copy of a police report showing that the vehicle or license plate(s) thereof had been reported to the police as stolen prior to the time of the alleged violation; or (ii) provides proof in court that he or she was not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation. (2) A summons may be issued by the prosecuting agency to a person identified by affidavit or evidence in court as the actual operator of the vehicle shown to have violated this subsection. There shall be a presumption that the person so identified was the driver. The presumption may be rebutted as described in this subsection.

(C) Procedure for contesting. (1) A request for a hearing must be made no later than the due date indicated on the summons, which date shall not be sooner than twenty (20) days from the date the summons was issued. (2) The voluntary assessment center shall notify the Justice of the Peace Court when a hearing is requested. Such notification shall be in accordance with policies and procedures developed by the Justice of the Peace Court.

(D) Failure to pay or contest the violation. If the owner or operator: (1) fails to respond to the summons on or before the due date in any of the manners permitted by this Section, or (2) requests a hearing and fails to appear, the court may, upon motion, enter a default judgment against such owner or operator. However, when the default judgment is sought for a failure to respond to the summons, no default judgment shall be entered until notice by first class mail is sent by the court to such owner or operator providing the owner or operator with ten (10) days to pay the civil penalty to the court or request a hearing to contest the charge. The applicable city, county or State agency may seek execution on any judgment entered by the court.

In addition, the voluntary assessment center or court may forward to the Division of Motor Vehicles the name and address of any owner or operator who fails to respond to the summons in a timely manner, who requests a hearing and fails to appear, or who is found responsible and fails to pay in accordance with the order of the court. The Division of Motor Vehicles may refuse to register and/or deny the renewal of the registration of any of the vehicles of such owner or operator.”

Section 3. Amend § 4702(g)(3) of Title 7 of the Delaware Code by deleting the word “fine” wherever it appears in the first sentence and replacing it with the phrase “civil penalty”.

Section 4. Further amend § 4702(g)(3) of Title 7 of the Delaware Code by deleting the word “fines” in the last sentence and replacing it with the phrase “civil penalties”.

Section 5. Amend § 4702(g)(4) of Title 7 of the Delaware Code by deleting the word “fine” wherever it appears in that Section and replacing it with the word “civil penalty”.

Section 6. Amend § 4702(g) of Title 7 of the Delaware Code by adding a new subsection (5) as follows:

“(5) Any violation of this subsection shall be subject to a civil penalty only. Such violation shall not be classified as a criminal offense and shall not qualify as a prior conviction for purposes of § 4218(c)(1)(f) of Title 11, whether or not such violation occurred prior to the enactment of this paragraph.”.

Section 7. Amend § 4178 of Title 21 of the Delaware Code by deleting the existing Section and replacing it with the following:

Ҥ 4178. Violations of offenses prohibiting stopping, standing or parking.

Any violation of this subchapter or any municipal or county ordinance, code or regulation prohibiting stopping, standing or parking shall be subject to a civil penalty only. Such violation shall not be classified as a criminal offense and shall not qualify as a prior conviction for purposes of § 4218(c)(1)(f) of Title 11, whether or not such violation occurred prior to the enactment of this Section.”.

Section 8. Amend § 4179 of Title 21 of the Delaware Code by deleting the existing heading and replacing it with the following:

“§ 4179. Stopping, standing or parking.”.

Section 9. Amend § 4179 of Title 21 of the Delaware Code by adding new subsections (a) through (d) as follows:

“(a) Upon any highway outside of a business or residential district, no person shall stop, park or leave standing any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, upon the roadway, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or where it is necessary for public utility vehicles to temporarily stop along the highway to make alterations in or repairs to utility facilities, so long as proper traffic-control devices are posted or where it is in compliance with the directions of a police officer or traffic-control device.

(b) Whenever any person authorized to issue a summons under this Title finds a vehicle standing upon the highway in violation of subsections (a), (e) or (f) of this Section, the authorized person may move such vehicle or require the driver or other person in charge of the vehicle to move same to a position off the highway.

(c) Any person authorized to issue a summons under this Title is hereby authorized to remove or cause to be removed any unattended vehicle illegally left standing upon any highway, bridge, causeway, or in any tunnel in such a position or under such circumstances as to obstruct the normal movement of traffic.

(d) Paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Section shall not apply to the driver of any vehicle which is disabled while on the roadway in such a manner and to such an extent that it is impossible to avoid stopping and temporarily leaving such vehicle in such position.

Section 10. Amend § 4179 of Title 21 of the Delaware Code by re-lettering existing subsections (a) and (b) as (e) and (f) respectively.

Section 11. Amend § 4180(f) of Title 21 of the Delaware Code by deleting the word “fined” and replacing it with the phrase “assessed a civil penalty”.

Section 12. Amend Title 21 of the Delaware Code by deleting § 4181 and replacing it with the following:

“ § 4181. Summons for unattended vehicle; civil penalties.

(a) A summons in appropriate form to be adopted by the Department of Public Safety may be attached to an unattended vehicle found in violation of any of the provisions of this subchapter or of any local code or regulation regulating stopping, standing or parking by any officer authorized by this Code or local ordinance, code, or regulation to issue summonses for such violations.

(b) The Department of Public Safety may adopt a schedule of civil penalties, between a minimum of $11.50 and a maximum of $28.75, for all violations delineated in this subchapter.

Section 13. Amend Title 21 of the Delaware Code by adding a new § 4181A as follows:

“ § 4181A. Establishment of voluntary assessment centers for payment of civil penalties for parking; payment by voluntary assessment; procedures for contesting; presumptions; failure to pay or contest.

(a) Establishment of municipal voluntary assessment centers. (1) An incorporated city or town may establish a voluntary assessment center for the payment of civil penalties for violations of their respective municipal ordinances, codes or regulations involving stopping, standing or parking. (2) An incorporated city or town may, by ordinance, establish the amount of the civil penalty for each stopping, standing or parking offense. (3) An incorporated city or town which establishes a voluntary assessment center may, by ordinance, provide for the imposition of one or more increases in the amount of the civil penalty if the fine is not timely paid. (4) An incorporated city or town which establishes a voluntary assessment center may, by ordinance, provide for a reduction in the amount of the civil penalty due if such civil penalty is paid during a specified time period which is prior to the summons due date.

(b) Payment by voluntary assessment. An owner or operator shall pay the amount on the summons to the voluntary assessment center listed on the summons, which center may be either a municipal voluntary assessment center or the Justice of the Peace Court Voluntary Assessment Center. No court costs or other administrative fee shall be assessed if a civil penalty is paid by voluntary assessment. In lieu of payment, an owner or operator may notify the applicable voluntary assessment center, within the time period specified on the summons, that he or she requests a hearing in the Justice of the Peace Court.

(c) Presumptions. (1) if any vehicle found to be in violation of this subchapter or any ordinance, code or regulation regulating stopping, standing or parking is unattended at the time the violation is discovered and the identity of the operator is not otherwise apparent, the person in whose name such vehicle is registered as the owner shall be held responsible for such violation, unless the owner can furnish evidence that the vehicle was, at the time of the violation, in the care, custody or control of another person. Such presumption shall be rebutted if the owner: (i) prior to the due date furnishes to the voluntary assessment center either: (A) an affidavit stating that he or she was not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation and provides the name and address of the person, or company who leased, rented or otherwise had the care, custody or control of the vehicle; or (B) attaches a certified copy of a police report showing that the vehicle or license plate(s) thereof had been reported to the police as stolen prior to the time of the alleged violation; or (ii) provides proof in court that he or she was not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation. (2) A summons may be issued by the prosecuting agency to a person identified by affidavit or evidence in court as the actual operator of the vehicle shown to have violated this subchapter or an ordinance, code or regulation regulating stopping, standing or parking. There shall be a presumption that the person so identified was the driver. The presumption may be rebutted as described in this subsection.

(d) Procedure for contesting. (1) A request for a hearing must be made no later than the due date indicated on the summons, which date shall not be sooner than twenty (20) days from the date the summons was issued. (2) The voluntary assessment center shall notify the Justice of the Peace Court when a hearing is requested. Such notification shall be in accordance with policies and procedures developed by the Justice of the Peace Court.

(e) Failure to pay or contest the violation. If the owner or operator: (1) fails to respond to the summons on or before the due date in any of the manners permitted by this Section, or (2) requests a hearing and fails to appear, the court may, upon motion, enter a default judgment against such owner or operator. However, when the default judgment is sought for a failure to respond to the summons, no default judgment shall be entered until notice by first class mail is sent by the court to such owner or operator providing the owner or operator with ten (10) days to pay the civil penalty to the court or request a hearing to contest the charge. A default judgment may include any applicable increases in the amount of the civil penalty for failure to timely pay or contest. The applicable city, county, or State agency may seek execution on any judgment entered by the court.

In addition, the applicable city, county or State agency may tow the vehicle if it is located in its jurisdiction and levy on it for the amount of unpaid tickets plus towing charges.

Section 14. Amend § 7001(b) of Title 21 of the Delaware Code by deleting the phrase “make arrests for violations of this chapter” and replace it with the phrase “enforce this chapter”.

Section 15. Amend § 7001(e) of Title 21 of the Delaware Code by deleting the phrase “make arrests for violation of” and replacing it with the word “enforce”.

Section 16. Further amend § 7001(e) of Title 21 of the Delaware Code by deleting the second sentence.

Section 17. Amend § 7001(f) of Title 21 of the Delaware Code by deleting the word “fined” and replacing it with the phrase “assessed a civil penalty”.

Section 18. Amend § 7001(g) by deleting the existing subsection and replacing with the following:

“Any violation of this Section or any municipal or county ordinance, code or regulation regulating parking in fire lanes shall be subject to a civil penalty only. Such violation shall not be classified as a criminal offense, shall not qualify as a prior conviction for purposes of § 4218(c)(1)(f) of Title 11, whether or not such violation occurred prior to the enactment of this Section, and shall not be made a part of the operating record of the person upon whom such civil penalty is imposed.”.

Section 19. Amend § 7003 of Title 21 of the Delaware Code by deleting the existing subsection and replacing it with the following:

Ҥ 7003. Payment by voluntary assessment; presumptions; procedure for contesting; failure to pay or contest.

(a) Payment by voluntary assessment. An owner or operator shall pay the amount on the summons to the voluntary assessment center listed on the summons. No court costs or other administrative fee shall be assessed if a civil penalty is paid by voluntary assessment. In lieu of payment, an owner or operator may notify the applicable voluntary assessment center, within the time period specified on the summons, that he or she requests a hearing in the Justice of the Peace Court.

(b) Presumptions. (1) If any vehicle found to be in violation of this subchapter or any ordinance, code or regulation regulating stopping, standing or parking is unattended at the time the violation is discovered and the identity of the operator is not otherwise apparent, the person in whose name such vehicle is registered as the owner shall be held responsible for such violation, unless the owner can furnish evidence that the vehicle was, at the time of the violation, in the care, custody or control of another person. Such presumption shall be rebutted if the owner: (i) prior to the due date furnishes to the voluntary assessment center either: (A) an affidavit stating that he or she was not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation and provides the name and address of the person, or company who leased, rented or otherwise had the care, custody or control of the vehicle; or (B) attaches a certified copy of a police report showing that the vehicle or license plate(s) thereof had been reported to the police as stolen prior to the time of the alleged violation; or (ii) provides proof in court that he or she was not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation. (2) A summons may be issued by the prosecuting agency to a person identified by affidavit or evidence in court as the actual operator of the vehicle shown to have violated this Chapter. There shall be a presumption that the person so identified as the driver. The presumption may be rebutted as described in this subsection.

(c) Procedure for contesting. (1) A request for a hearing must be made no later than the due date indicated on the summons, which date shall not be sooner than twenty (20) days from the date the summons was issued. (2) The voluntary assessment center shall notify the appropriate Justice of the Peace Court when a hearing is requested.

(d) Failure to pay or contest the violation. If the owner or operator: (1) fails to respond to the summons on or before the due date in any of the manners permitted by this Section, or (2) requests a hearing and fails to appear, the court may, upon motion, enter a default judgment against such owner or operator. However, when the default judgment is sought for a failure to respond to the summons, no default judgment shall be entered until notice by first class mail is sent by the court to such owner or operator providing the owner or operator with ten (10) days to pay the civil penalty to the court or request a hearing to contest the charge. A default judgment may include any applicable increases in the amount of the civil penalty for failure to timely pay or contest. The applicable city, county or State agency may seek execution on any judgment entered by the court.

In addition, the applicable city, county or State agency may tow the vehicle if it is located in its jurisdiction and levy on it for the amount of unpaid tickets plus towing charges.”.

Section 20. Amend § 7004(c) of Title 21 of the Delaware Code by deleting the word “fine” and replacing it with the phrase “civil penalty”.

Approved July 10, 2006