TITLE 21

Motor Vehicles

Miscellaneous

CHAPTER 67. THEFT, UNAUTHORIZED USE AND DAMAGE TO MOTOR VEHICLES

Subchapter II. Salvage Yards


If any vehicle being kept in a motor vehicle salvage yard or junkyard is rebuilt and application is made for a negotiable title to the vehicle, said vehicle shall be examined by members of the State Police Auto Theft Unit or by a person designated by the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles prior to the issuance of any negotiable title to such vehicle.

59 Del. Laws, c. 544, § 1.;

(a) Any person engaged in the business of maintaining or operating a motor vehicle salvage yard, junkyard or automotive graveyard, or who is a dealer in used motor vehicle parts, or the employees of such person or business, shall admit any police officer acting within the officer's jurisdiction onto the premises after the police officer has been identified as such. Upon entrance, the police officer is empowered to examine any junk or salvage motor, vehicle or parts thereof, all books and records required to be kept pursuant to this subchapter and buildings and may search for and take into possession any junk or salvage motor vehicle or part thereof if it is known to have been stolen or if the police officer has reason to believe it has been stolen.

(b) Insurance and execution of administrative search warrants shall be as follows:

(1) Any person authorized to issue search warrants in this State may, within the person's jurisdiction and upon proper oath or affirmation showing probable cause, issue warrants for the purpose of conducting administrative inspections authorized by this chapter and rules hereunder and seizures of property appropriate to the inspection. For purposes of the issuance of administrative inspection warrants, probable cause exists upon showing a valid public interest in the effective enforcement of this chapter and rules hereunder, sufficient to justify administrative inspection of the area, premises, building or conveyance in the circumstances specified in the application for the warrant.

(2) A warrant shall issue only upon an affidavit of a designated police officer having knowledge of the facts alleged, sworn to before the judge or the justice of the peace and establishing the grounds for issuing the warrant. If the judge or the justice of the peace is satisfied that grounds for the application exist or that there is probable cause to believe they exist, the judge or the justice of the peace shall issue a warrant identifying the area, premises, building or conveyance to be inspected, the purpose of the inspection and, if appropriate, the type of property to inspect, if any. The warrant shall:

a. State the grounds for its issuance and the name of each person whose affidavit has been taken in support thereof;

b. Be directed to a person designated as a police officer to execute it;

c. Command the person to whom it is directed to inspect the area, premises, building or conveyance identified for the purpose specified and, if appropriate, direct the seizure of the property specified;

d. Identify the item or types of property to be seized, if any;

e. Direct that it be served during normal business hours and designate the judge or justice of the peace to whom it shall be returned.

(3) A warrant issued pursuant to this section must be executed and returned within 10 days of its date unless, upon a showing of the need for additional time, the court orders otherwise. If property is seized pursuant to a warrant, a copy shall be given to the person from whom or from whose premises the property is taken, together with a receipt for the property taken. A return of the warrant shall be made promptly, accompanied by a written inventory of any property taken. The inventory shall be made in the premises of the person executing the warrant and of the person from whose possession or premises the property was taken, if present at the time, or in the presence of at least 1 credible person other than the person executing the warrant. A copy of the inventory shall be delivered to the person from whom or from whose premises the property was taken and to the applicant for the warrant.

(4) The judge or justice of the peace who has issued a warrant shall attach thereto a copy of the return and all papers returnable in connection therewith and file them with the prothonotary in the county in which the inspection was made.

(5) This section shall not prevent the inspection without a warrant of books and records required to be kept pursuant to statute or the areas designated by this section, nor does it prevent any entries and administrative inspections, including seizures of property without a warrant:

a. If the owner/operator or agent in charge of the controlled premises consents; or

b. In all other situations in which a warrant is not constitutionally required.

59 Del. Laws, c. 534, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;