TITLE 21

Motor Vehicles

Registration, Title and Licenses

CHAPTER 23. TITLE AND LIENS

Subchapter I. Certificates of Title


(a) The Department shall not register or renew the registration of any motor vehicle or truck tractor unless and until the owner thereof makes application for and is granted an official certificate of title for such vehicle or presents satisfactory evidence that a certificate of title for such vehicle has been previously issued to such owner by the Department.

(b) The owner of a motor vehicle registered in this State shall not operate or permit the operation of any such vehicle upon any highway without first obtaining a certificate of title therefor from the Department nor shall any person operate any such vehicle upon the highways knowing or having reason to believe that the owner has failed to obtain a certificate of title therefor.

(c) The Department shall not register any motor vehicle, truck tractor, trailer or motorcycle after July 1, 1969, until the motor vehicle document fee imposed by § 3002 of Title 30 has been paid to the Department, unless such motor vehicle is exempted from such fee by § 3002 of Title 30.

(d) The Department shall not transfer the title of a mobile home or house trailer to a new owner until all county taxes levied by the jurisdiction in which the trailer is located have been paid in full. The Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer of Kent County may charge a fee in such amount as is established by the Kent County Levy Court for issuing a letter of certification as to the county taxes.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 34; Code 1935, § 5572; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2301; 57 Del. Laws, c. 136, § 29; 57 Del. Laws, c. 188, § 39; 63 Del. Laws, c. 239, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 74, § 1.;

(a) Every application for an original certificate of title shall be made upon the appropriate form furnished or approved by the Department and shall contain a full description of the motor vehicle including the name of the maker, the vehicle serial number or any number as may be assigned by the Department and any distinguishing marks thereon and whether the vehicle is new or used, together with a full and complete statement of each and all liens or encumbrances, if any, upon the motor vehicle. The application shall also contain a statement of the name and address of the person to whom the certificate of title shall be delivered and such other information as the Department may require. If the applicant desires a certificate of title in transfer-on-death form, the application shall contain the information required pursuant to § 2304 of this title. Every application shall be accompanied by the required fee. Whenever a new motor vehicle is purchased from a dealer the application for a certificate of title shall also include a statement of transfer by the dealer and a certificate of origin therefor.

(b) The owner shall certify, under penalty of perjury, that the statements made on the application for a certificate of title are true and correct to the best of the owner's knowledge, information and belief.

(c) No application for an original certificate of title shall be accepted by the Department from any person under 18 years of age unless said certificate stating consent to said application is signed by at least 1 parent or guardian of said person.

(d) Any person who purchases for consideration, receives by gift or otherwise receives or acquires in any transaction any new or used trailer after July 1, 1969, shall apply to the Department for an original certificate of title for such trailer. Such application shall be made upon the appropriate form furnished or approved by the Department and shall contain a full description of the trailer including the name of the maker, the trailer serial number or any number as may be assigned by the Department, and any distinguishing marks thereon and whether said trailer is new or used, together with a full and complete statement of each and all liens or encumbrances, if any, upon the trailer. The application shall also contain a statement of the name and address of the person to whom the certificate of title shall be delivered and such other information as the Department may require. The Department shall not issue the original certificate of title until the document fee imposed by § 3002 of Title 30 has been paid to the Department.

(e) When a mobile home, park trailer or house trailer is sold by a Delaware licensed mobile home dealer the dealer shall be responsible for immediately submitting the application for certificate of title, related documents and all fees to the Division of Motor Vehicles for the purpose of securing a title.

32 Del. Laws, c. 8; Code 1915, § 254K; 34 Del. Laws, c. 17; 35 Del. Laws, c. 9; 36 Del. Laws, c. 10, §§ 8, 35; 37 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 3; 38 Del. Laws, c. 28, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 32; Code 1935, §§ 5546, 5573; 43 Del. Laws, c. 244, § 2; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2302; 50 Del. Laws, c. 182, § 2; 54 Del. Laws, c. 365, § 1; 57 Del. Laws, c. 75; 57 Del. Laws, c. 188, § 25; 57 Del. Laws, c. 670, § 9A; 58 Del. Laws, c. 112, § 1; 58 Del. Laws, c. 511, § 40; 63 Del. Laws, c. 239, § 2; 64 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 9; 69 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 454, § 4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 1.;

When the application for a certificate of title refers to a new vehicle purchased from a dealer, the application shall be accompanied by the bill of sale or other written statement of the sale by the dealer, which bill of sale or statement shall show any lien upon the vehicle retained by the dealer.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 8; Code 1935, § 5546; 43 Del. Laws, c. 244, § 2; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2303.;

(a) A motor vehicle may be titled in transfer-on-death form by including in the certificate of title a designation of a beneficiary or beneficiaries to whom the motor vehicle shall be transferred on death of the owner or the last to die of 2 or more owners with right of survivorship, subject to the rights of all lien holders, whether created before, simultaneously with, or after the creation of the transfer-on-death interest. A trust may be the beneficiary of a transfer-on-death certificate of title.

(b) A motor vehicle is titled in transfer-on-death form by designating in the certificate of title, the name of the sole owner, or the names of the owners who own the motor vehicle as tenants in common, tenants by the entirety or joint tenants with right of survivorship, followed in substance by the words "transfer on death to [name of beneficiary or beneficiaries]." Instead of the words "transfer on death to" the abbreviation "TOD" may be used.

(c) The transfer-on-death beneficiary or beneficiaries shall have no interest in the motor vehicle until the death of the owner or the last to die of all multiple owners with right of survivorship. A beneficiary designation may be changed at any time by the owner or all then surviving multiple owners with right of survivorship, without the consent of the beneficiary or beneficiaries, by filing an application for a subsequent certificate of title.

(d) Ownership of a motor vehicle titled in transfer-on-death form, for which an application for a subsequent certificate of title has not been filed, shall vest in the designated beneficiary or beneficiaries on the death of the owner or the last to die of all multiple owners with right of survivorship, subject to the rights of all lien holders. If no beneficiary survives the death of the owner or the last to die of all multiple owners with right of survivorship, then such interest in the motor vehicle belongs to the estate of the deceased owner or the last to die of all multiple owners with right of survivorship.

(e) A certificate of title in transfer-on-death form shall not be considered a testamentary disposition.

78 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 2.;

The fee for issuing a certificate of title for a vehicle shall be $25. Such fee shall be in addition to any fee charged for registration of the vehicle.

32 Del. Laws, c. 8; Code 1915, § 254K; 34 Del. Laws, c. 17; 35 Del. Laws, c. 9; 36 Del. Laws, c. 10, §§ 26, 35; 38 Del. Laws, c. 27, §§ 1, 2; 38 Del. Laws, c. 28, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 32; 40 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 5564, 5573; 43 Del. Laws, c. 244, § 15; 45 Del. Laws, c. 287, § 2; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2305; 53 Del. Laws, c. 221, § 12; 65 Del. Laws, c. 178, § 3; 68 Del. Laws, c. 156, § 60(a); 76 Del. Laws, c. 76, § 13.;

(a) The Department, when satisfied that the applicant for a certificate of title is the owner of the motor vehicle, shall thereupon issue in the name of the owner a certificate bearing a serial number and the signature of the Secretary, under the seal of the Secretary's office. The certificate of title shall contain the same information as is required upon the face of the registration card except that the period of registration shall be omitted. The Department may make address and vehicle registered weight changes to the vehicle record and registration card without issuing a new title.

(b) The certificate of title shall also contain a space for the signature of the owner in order to validate the same and forms for assignment of title or interest and warranty thereof by the owner with a space for notation of liens and encumbrances upon the vehicle at the time of a transfer. If an owner has elected to have a title issued in transfer-on-death form, then the title shall also contain the designations made by the owner pursuant to § 2304 of this title.

(c) The certificate of title shall be delivered to the registered owner unless another person has been named to receive the certificate in the application, in which event the certificate shall be delivered to such person.

(d) The Department shall not issue a certificate of title to any person under 18 years of age unless at least 1 parent or guardian of said person shall sign said certificate stating consent to the issuance of same.

(e) If a licensed dealer holds for sale a motor vehicle, truck tractor or trailer, or any other vehicle required by this title to be registered or titled by the Department, and transfers or sells such motor vehicle, truck tractor, trailer or other vehicle to someone other than another licensed dealer who holds such vehicle for sale, the dealer shall:

(1) Comply with this chapter; and

(2) Within 30 days of the date of delivery of the vehicle to the purchaser or transferee, transmit to the Department the application for certificate of title and such other accompanying documents and fees as are required by the Department; or

(3) Within 10 days of the date of delivery of the vehicle, transmit to the purchaser or transferee of such vehicle the application for certificate of title and such other accompanying documents as are required by the Department, in which case the purchaser or transferee shall submit the application and other documents to the Department within 30 days of the date of delivery of the vehicle.

(4) If, due to extenuating circumstances, the dealer or purchaser or transferee is unable to transmit the application to the Department within 30 days of the date of delivery of the vehicle, the Director in the Director's discretion may grant an extension of time within which the dealer, purchaser or transferee must do so.

36 Del. Laws, c. 36, §§ 10, 36; 38 Del. Laws, c. 28, § 2; Code 1935, §§ 5548, 5574; 43 Del. Laws, c. 244, § 5; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2306; 54 Del. Laws, c. 365, § 2; 57 Del. Laws, c. 75; 57 Del. Laws, c. 670, § 9A; 58 Del. Laws, c. 511, § 41; 64 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 11; 69 Del. Laws, c. 71, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 3.;

The certificate of title shall be good for the life of the motor vehicle so long as the vehicle is owned or held by the original holder of such certificate.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 36; 38 Del. Laws, c. 28, § 2; Code 1935, § 5574; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2307.;

The Department shall retain and appropriately file every surrendered certificate of title or copy thereof. The file is to be so maintained as to permit the tracing of title of the vehicles designated therein. Certificate of title issued by other jurisdictions may be returned to those jurisdictions at the discretion of the Director of Motor Vehicles.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 38; Code 1935, § 5576; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2308; 62 Del. Laws, c. 190, § 11; 65 Del. Laws, c. 352, § 1.;

In the event of the loss of a certificate of title, the loss of which is accounted for to the satisfaction of the Department, a duplicate or substitute may be issued, the charge therefor to be $25.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, §§ 26, 40; Code 1935, §§ 5564, 5578; 43 Del. Laws, c. 244, § 15; 45 Del. Laws, c. 287, § 2; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2309; 64 Del. Laws, c. 366, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 260, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 156, § 60(b); 76 Del. Laws, c. 76, § 14.;

The owner of a motor vehicle, the serial number of which has been altered, removed or defaced, may make application for a special number in the form prescribed by the Department accompanied by a fee of $2.00. The applicant shall furnish such information as will satisfy the Department that such applicant is the owner, whereupon the Department shall assign a special number for the motor vehicle preceded by a symbol indicating this State. A record of special numbers so assigned shall be maintained by the Department. The title inspector shall stamp the number upon the vehicle as directed by the Department and, upon receipt by the Department of a certificate that the title inspector has inspected and stamped the number upon the motor vehicle as directed, in a workmanlike manner, together with application for a certificate of title, such special number shall be regarded as the serial number of the motor vehicle.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 44; Code 1935, § 5582; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2310; 62 Del. Laws, c. 190, § 12; 67 Del. Laws, c. 187, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Repealed by 62 Del. Laws, c. 190, § 13, eff. Feb. 8, 1980.;

If the Department determines that an applicant for a certificate of title to a motor vehicle is not entitled thereto, it may refuse to issue such certificate and, in that event, unless the Department reverses its decision or its decision is reversed by a court of competent jurisdiction, the applicant shall have no further right to apply for a certificate of title on the statements in said application. The Department may, for a like reason, revoke any outstanding certificate of title.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 39; Code 1935, § 5577; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2312.;

No outstanding certificate of title shall be revoked by the Department without notice to the owner of the vehicle and a hearing. The notice shall be served in person or by registered mail.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 39; Code 1935, § 5577; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2313.;

An appeal from any decision of the Department refusing or revoking a certificate of title may be taken to the Superior Court.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 39; Code 1935, § 5577; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2314.;

Whoever knowingly makes any false statement in any application or other document required by the terms of this chapter shall be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor, and shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, or imprisoned not less than 60 days nor more than 1 year, or both.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, §§ 41, 48; 37 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 13; Code 1935, §§ 5579, 5586; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2315; 77 Del. Laws, c. 60, § 7.;

Whoever:

(1) Alters with fraudulent intent any certificate of title, manufacturer's certificate of origin, registration card, vehicle warranty or certification sticker or vehicle identification plate issued by the Division; or

(2) Forges or counterfeits any certificate of title, manufacturer's certificate of origin, registration card, vehicle warranty or certification sticker or vehicle identification plate issued by the Division; or

(3) Alters or falsifies with fraudulent intent or forges any assignment of a certificate of title, manufacturer's certificate of origin, registration card, vehicle warranty or certification sticker or vehicle identification plates; or

(4) Holds or uses any certificate of title, manufacturer's certificate of origin, registration card, vehicle warranty or certification sticker or vehicle identification plate or an assignment thereof, knowing the same to have been altered, forged or falsified;

is guilty of a class E felony as the same is defined in Chapter 42 of Title 11 and shall be sentenced in accordance therewith.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, §§ 42, 49; Code 1935, §§ 5580, 5588; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2316; 59 Del. Laws, c. 531, § 1.;