TITLE 21

Motor Vehicles

Registration, Title and Licenses

CHAPTER 25. TRANSFER OF TITLE, REGISTRATION AND LIENS


Whenever the owner of a vehicle registered under this title transfers or assigns the title or interest thereto, the registration of such vehicle shall expire.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 15; Code 1935, § 5553; 43 Del. Laws, c. 244, § 9; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2501; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

An owner, upon transferring a registered vehicle, shall endorse the name and address of the transferee and the date of transfer upon the registration card issued for such vehicle and shall immediately give or send such card to the Department or an authorized representative thereof, except as otherwise provided by law in the case of transfers to dealers.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 15; Code 1935, § 5553; 43 Del. Laws, c. 244, § 9; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2502.;

(a) The transferee of a Delaware registered vehicle shall make application for a new certificate of title immediately following purchase, but in no case more than 30 days after purchase of said vehicle. If due to extraordinary circumstances the purchaser is unable to apply for a certificate of title within 30 days of the purchase date, the Director, in the Director's discretion and for good cause shown, may grant an extension of time within which the purchaser must do so. The transferee, before operating or permitting the operation of a motor vehicle which has been transferred to such transferee upon a highway, shall apply for a transfer of title, obtain the registration of the vehicle as upon original registration, submit the vehicle to inspection and obtain new registration plates and new number plates as provided in this title. If the transferor has not had the registration plates and number plates transferred and assigned to another vehicle, then the transferee may, before operating or permitting the operation of such vehicle upon a highway, apply for and obtain, upon the payment of a fee of $25, a transfer of title and registration. Upon any such application the Department shall issue to the transferee without additional fee or inspection a new certificate of title and a new registration card, which card shall show the same period for which such vehicle was originally registered by the owner.

(b) Subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to the operation of vehicles by dealers or under temporary or limited permits or certificates as otherwise provided by this title.

(c) The Department shall transfer a certificate of title or registration certificate to any person 18 years of age or older if such person is otherwise qualified to obtain such certificate of title or registration certificate. The Department may transfer a certificate of title or registration certificate to a person under 18 years of age if at least 1 parent or guardian of said person signs the certificate of title or registration certificate stating consent to the transfer of same.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 15; Code 1935, § 5553; 43 Del. Laws, c. 244, § 9; 48 Del. Laws, c. 115, § 2; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2503; 53 Del. Laws, c. 221, § 16; 54 Del. Laws, c. 365, § 3; 57 Del. Laws, c. 75; 58 Del. Laws, c. 551, § 42; 59 Del. Laws, c. 48, § 4; 65 Del. Laws, c. 178, § 5; 68 Del. Laws, c. 156, § 60(e); 69 Del. Laws, c. 74, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 76, § 15.;

(a) If the transferee is a dealer, the owner upon transferring a registered vehicle shall properly endorse the registration card and deliver it together with the certificate of title properly assigned to the dealer who shall immediately report such transfer to the Department. After reporting the transfer, the dealer may operate such vehicle upon the highways during the period for which it is currently registered without dealer's plates solely for the purposes of testing, demonstrating or selling the vehicle but upon the sale of such vehicle the dealer shall endorse the name and address of the purchaser and the date of transfer upon the registration card and shall immediately give or send the card to the Department or an authorized representative thereof. The purchaser or transferee of the dealer shall, before operating or permitting the operation of the vehicle upon a highway, comply with this chapter.

(b) If ownership of a vehicle held by a registered dealer for sale is transferred, the transferring dealer, without applying for a new certificate of title, may execute an assignment of title to the transferee on a dealer's reassignment form, prescribed by the Department. Such assignment shall include a statement certifying all liens and encumbrances on the vehicle.

Every dealer, upon transferring a vehicle, shall immediately give a written notice of such transfer to the Department upon the official form provided by the Department.

(c) Dealer reassignment forms may be issued to a qualified dealer upon application for not less than 5 such forms and payment of a fee of $10 for each form.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 15; Code 1935, § 5553; 43 Del. Laws, c. 244, § 9; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2504; 60 Del. Laws, c. 336, § 1; 65 Del. Laws, c. 178, § 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 156, § 60(f); 79 Del. Laws, c. 46, § 1.;

(a) Whenever an automotive recycler purchases or otherwise acquires any vehicle, whether registered or unregistered, for the purpose of wrecking or dismantling it in order to resell the parts thereof, such automotive recycler shall obtain the certificate of title issued by this State or any other state, a salvage certificate or other acceptable evidence of ownership from the seller or transferee which shall be deemed to meet all State proof of ownership, and shall be kept by the automotive recycler at the place of business where the vehicle was originally acquired by the automotive recycler. The automotive recycler shall report the acquisition of all vehicles to the Department on a monthly basis on a form devised by the Department. If the vehicle is transferred by the automotive recycler or the recycler's agent to another person or location, it shall be noted by the automotive recycler in the record, and the proof of ownership shall be transferred and kept at the same location as the vehicle, unless the vehicle is transferred to a scrap processor for recycling the vehicle scrap in which case the automotive recycler shall immediately send or deliver the proof of ownership of the vehicle to the Department. In this case the automotive recycler shall complete a 3-part form provided by the Department and shall:

(1) Retain 1 copy in the recycler's records;

(2) Forward 1 copy to the Department together with the proof of ownership;

(3) Forward the remaining copy to the scrap processor; and

(4) The scrap processor shall, upon destruction of the vehicle, retain a copy in such processor's records. The copy retained by the scrap processor shall be kept for a period of 3 years and the scrap processor shall make the same available for inspection by any police officer during the regular working hours of such business.

(b) The records and information required by this section shall be maintained by the automotive recycler for as long as said vehicle remains in the recycler's possession or control; provided, however, that if the automotive recycler transfers such vehicle to another person the recycler shall nevertheless keep such records and information for a period of 3 years from the date of such transfer. All records shall be maintained at the approved business location.

(c) If the ownership of the vehicle held for resale is transferred for titling and registration purposes, the transferring licensed automotive recycler without applying for a new certificate of title may execute an assignment of the certificate of title or salvage certificate to the transferee on the reassignment form prescribed by the Department.

(d) Any person who fails, neglects or refuses to maintain the records and information required by this section, or who shall refuse to permit the examination of the records or information by persons permitted to do so by this section or Chapter 75 of this title, shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor as the same is defined in Chapter 42 of Title 11, and shall be subject to the penalties prescribed therein.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, §§ 15, 26; Code 1935, §§ 5553, 5564; 43 Del. Laws, c. 244, §§ 9, 15; 45 Del. Laws, c. 287, § 2; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2505; 51 Del. Laws, c. 223, § 2; 59 Del. Laws, c. 541, § 3; 63 Del. Laws, c. 53, § 1; 65 Del. Laws, c. 318, § 4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

In the event of the transfer by operation of law of the title or interest of an owner in and to a vehicle as upon transfer-on-death, inheritance, devise or bequest, order in bankruptcy or insolvency or execution sale, the registration thereof shall expire and the vehicle shall not be operated upon the highways until and unless the person entitled thereto applies for and obtains the registration and inspection thereof and a transfer of title therefor. The surviving spouse, the child or children of any deceased person and the immediate members of the deceased's family residing in the household, after giving due and proper notice to the Department in such manner and on such form as may be provided therefor by the Department, may operate such vehicle and the current registration thereof shall continue in full force and effect until normal expiration thereof at which time the registration of such vehicle shall expire. An administrator, executor, trustee or other representative of the owner, or a sheriff or other officer or the assignee or legal representative of any such person may operate or cause to be operated any vehicle upon the highways for a distance not exceeding 125 miles from the place where formerly kept by the owner, to a garage, warehouse or other place of keeping or storage, upon displaying upon such vehicle the number plates issued for it and obtaining a temporary or limited permit for such operation as provided by this title.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 15; Code 1935, § 5553; 42 Del. Laws, c. 169; 43 Del. Laws, c. 244, § 9; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2506; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 4.;

Whenever any motor vehicle for which a title has been issued by the Department, whether such vehicle is registered or unregistered, is removed from this State, through transfer or otherwise, for the purpose of retitling the vehicle in another state, the owner thereof, upon transferring and/or removing such vehicle, shall, in addition to complying with all the other provisions of this chapter, remove the number plates and, if the vehicle is registered, the registration plates therefrom and shall immediately give or send such plates to the Department or an authorized representative thereof, together with a report that such vehicle is to be retitled in another state. If the Department is satisfied that the vehicle is to be removed from this State for the purpose aforesaid, the title to such vehicle shall be canceled.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 15; Code 1935, § 5553; 44 Del. Laws, c. 188, § 1; 45 Del. Laws, c. 287, § 3; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2507; 51 Del. Laws, c. 223, § 3.;

The fee for transferring title to a vehicle shall be $25. A $25 penalty fee shall be charged for the issuance of a new certificate of title on a Delaware titled vehicle when the application is received more than 30 days after the transfer date of said vehicle. The penalty fee shall be waived if the Director has granted an extension of time within which to apply for a certificate of title in accordance with § 2503(a) of this title.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 26; Code 1935, § 5564; 43 Del. Laws, c. 244, § 15; 45 Del. Laws, c. 287, § 2; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2508; 53 Del. Laws, c. 221, § 17; 65 Del. Laws, c. 178, § 4; 68 Del. Laws, c. 156, § 60(g); 69 Del. Laws, c. 74, § 2; 76 Del. Laws, c. 76, § 16.;

If a licensed dealer holds for sale a motor vehicle, truck tractor, trailer or any other vehicle required by this title to be registered or titled by the Department and transfers the 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 transferee or purchaser 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. 10, § 17; Code 1935, § 5555; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2509; 64 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 12; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) The owner of a motor vehicle for which a certificate of title is required shall not sell or transfer that title or interest in or to such vehicle unless the owner has obtained a certificate of title thereto or, unless having procured a certificate of title, the owner shall in every respect comply with the requirements of this section. Whoever violates this section shall be fined not less than $25 nor more than $500, or imprisoned not less than 30 days nor more than 1 year or both.

(b) The owner of a motor vehicle who transfers or sells that title or interest in or to such motor vehicle shall endorse an assignment and warranty of title upon the certificate of title for such vehicle with a statement, as certified by the owner under penalty of perjury, of all liens or encumbrances thereon and the owner shall deliver the certificate of title to the purchaser or transferee at the time of delivering the vehicle.

(c) The transferee, except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, shall thereupon present such certificate endorsed and assigned to the Department, accompanied by a transfer fee of $25 and make application for and obtain a new certificate of title for such vehicle.

(d) When the transferee of a vehicle is a dealer who holds the vehicle for resale and operates it only for purposes of demonstration under dealer's number plates or when the transferee does not drive such vehicle or permit such vehicle to be driven upon the highways, such transferee shall not be required to forward the certificate of title to the Department, as provided in subsection (c) of this section, but such transferee upon transferring that title or interest to another person shall execute and acknowledge an assignment and warranty of title upon the certificate of title and deliver the same to the person to whom such transfer is made. No dealer or other transferee shall hold the certificate of title to a motor vehicle for resale and/or transfer that title or interest to another person by executing an assignment and warranty of title upon the certificate of title without first having satisfied or caused to be satisfied all liens or encumbrances against the motor vehicle recorded in the office of the Secretary.

(e) Whenever the ownership of any motor vehicle passes otherwise than by voluntary transfer, the new owner may obtain a certificate of title therefor from the Department upon application therefor and payment of a fee of $25, accompanied with such instruments or documents of authority, or certified copies thereof, as may be required by law to evidence or effect a transfer of title or interest in or to chattels in such case. The Department, when satisfied of the genuineness and regularity of such transfer, shall issue a new certificate of title to the person entitled thereto.

(f) Whenever a dealer purchases or otherwise acquires a previously registered vehicle, the dealer shall immediately notify the Department, giving the name of the former owner and a sufficient description of the vehicle to identify it.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, §§ 37, 49; 37 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 12; 40 Del. Laws, c. 33, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 5575, 5587; 43 Del. Laws, c. 244, § 17; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2510; 53 Del. Laws, c. 221, §§ 18, 19; 57 Del. Laws, c. 670, § 10; 64 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 10; 65 Del. Laws, c. 178, §§ 7, 8; 68 Del. Laws, c. 156, § 60(h); 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 76, § 17.;

(a) Whoever violates this chapter shall for the first offense be fined not less than $25 nor more than $100, or imprisoned not less than 30 days nor more than 90 days or both. For each subsequent like offense, the person shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $200, or imprisoned not less than 90 days nor more than 6 months or both.

(b) This section shall not apply to violations for which a specific punishment is set forth elsewhere in this chapter.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 32; 37 Del. Laws, c. 10, §§ 10, 11; Code 1935, § 5570; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 2511; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Whenever any registered or unregistered motor vehicle, for which a title has been issued by the Department, is transferred as salvage as a result of a total loss insurance settlement, the insurance company or its authorized agent shall send the certificate of title of the vehicle to the Department within 30 days from the date of settlement. Upon receipt of the certificate of title and appropriate fee, the Department shall issue a salvage certificate. Such salvage certificate shall be deemed to meet all State proof of ownership.

(b) If the owner of any registered or unregistered motor vehicle for which a title has been issued by the Department receives a total loss insurance settlement for the vehicle and chooses to retain ownership of the vehicle as owner retained salvage, the insurance company shall either comply with the requirements in paragraph (a) of this section or require the owner of the vehicle to procure a salvage certificate from the Department prior to paying the total loss insurance settlement.

(c) If a salvaged or junked motor vehicle is sold to a scrap processor and if the vehicle is to be totally destroyed, the salvage dealer or junk dealer shall, within 30 days of said sale, certify on the salvage certificate that the vehicle was sold to be destroyed and list the name of the scrap processor or buyer along with the date of sale and that the vehicle no longer exists and forward the salvage certificate to the Department for cancellation.

(d) The Department shall issue to the seller a receipt in the name of the seller, agent or owner for the salvage certificate. The seller or vehicle owner or agent shall keep such records and receipt for a period of 3 years from the date of sale and shall make such records and receipts available for inspection and examination by any police officer during the regular working hours of such business, seller or agent.

(e) Any person who fails, neglects or refuses to maintain the records and information required by this section, or who shall refuse to permit the examination of the records or information by persons permitted by this section to do so, shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor as the same is defined in Chapter 42 of Title 11, and shall be subject to the penalties proscribed therein.

(f) The record keeping requirements outlined in this section shall be applicable to scrap processors, salvage dealers, junk dealers and insurance companies or their authorized agents. The record keeping requirement and penalties for failure to maintain such records shall not apply to individual owners who choose to retain ownership of their total loss vehicle as owner retained salvage.

59 Del. Laws, c. 541, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 53, § 2; 71 Del. Laws, c. 57, §§ 1, 2.;

Whenever any motor vehicle for which a title has been issued by the Department, whether such vehicle is registered or unregistered, is stolen, the owner or holder of the certificate of title shall, within 30 days of such theft, in addition to complying with all the other provisions of this chapter, send the certificate of title of the stolen vehicle to the Department or an authorized representative thereof. If the stolen vehicle is recovered after the title has been sent to the Department, the Department shall return the title at no cost to the owner or former holder of the certificate of title within 10 days after receiving a request therefor from such owner or former holder.

59 Del. Laws, c. 541, § 2.;

(a) No person shall knowingly offer for sale or exchange in this State any motor vehicle which was previously licensed and used as a taxicab or for public transportation until the certificate of title for such motor vehicle has been surrendered to the Secretary of Transportation and until the Secretary has stamped in a conspicuous place on such certificate of title the designation "PREV TAXI."

(b) No taxicab or other vehicle which was previously used for public transportation shall be sold to any person until such vehicle has been examined and determined safe and fit for operation and found equipped according to law by the agents of the Secretary of Transportation of this State. In the event such vehicle is found to be in an unsafe condition or the required equipment is not present or is not in proper repair and adjustment, the Secretary or the Secretary's agent shall give a written notice of the unsafe condition to the owner of the motor vehicle. In event the taxicab or motor vehicle is not placed in a safe condition and equipped according to law, the Department shall rescind, cancel or suspend the registration of such vehicle.

(c) Any person who sells a motor vehicle contrary to this section and every officer, agent or employee of any person, firm or corporation and every person who shall sell or who shall authorize, direct, aid in or consent to the sale of a motor vehicle contrary to the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than $1,000 or be imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.

64 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 13; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 110, §§ 48, 49.;

(a) No person shall sell a motor vehicle from which the catalytic converter has been removed without first advising the purchaser in writing and obtaining the purchaser's signature upon said notification that the catalytic converter is missing and that the vehicle may not pass inspection. It shall be a defense to any cause of action brought pursuant to this section if the motor vehicle was not required by federal laws or regulations to have a catalytic converter as part of its equipment.

(b) Any person who sells a motor vehicle in violation of this section shall make restitution to the purchaser in an amount reasonably necessary to pay for:

(1) Parts and labor to replace the catalytic converter; and

(2) All reasonable costs and attorneys' fees for bringing an action pursuant to this section.

70 Del. Laws, c. 429, § 1.;