TITLE 7

Conservation

Game, Wildlife and Dogs

CHAPTER 13. ENFORCEMENT OF GAME AND FISH LAWS


Every person holding a license for hunting or fishing, as prescribed by law, may arrest, without warrant, violators of this part.

26 Del. Laws, c. 162, § 10; Code 1915, § 2367; Code 1935, § 2813; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 1301.;

Any freeholder or leaseholder or member of his or her family or any person in his or her employ may arrest, without warrant, any person who, upon the freehold or leasehold, commits any violation of this part.

26 Del. Laws, c. 162, § 11; Code 1915, § 2368; Code 1935, § 2814; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 1302; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The Department shall confiscate all game and fish unlawfully taken or had in possession, and dispose of the same by destroying it or distributing it among charitable institutions.

26 Del. Laws, c. 162, § 13; Code 1915, § 2370; Code 1935, § 2816; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 1303; 57 Del. Laws, c. 739, § 73.;

(a) Violations of Chapters 1, 5, 6, 7, 9, 18, 19, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, and 28 of subchapter I of Chapter 11 of this title or Department orders, rules or regulations promulgated to implement provisions of these chapters are designated as environmental misdemeanors and violations.

(b) Environmental misdemeanors and environmental violations are classified for purposes of sentencing into the following 4 categories :

(1) Class A environmental misdemeanors;

(2) Class B environmental misdemeanors;

(3) Class C environmental violations;

(4) Class D environmental violations.

(c) Any violation of Chapters 1, 5, 6 or 7 or of subchapter I of Chapter 11 of this title for which there is no prescribed penalty shall be a class C environmental violation.

(d) Any person convicted of a class A environmental misdemeanor shall be fined not less than $1000, nor more than $10,000, plus the costs of prosecution and court costs, or such person shall be imprisoned for up to 60 days, or such person shall be both fined and imprisoned according to the foregoing limitations. Any person convicted of a class A environmental misdemeanor within 5 years of a prior conviction for a class A environmental misdemeanor shall be fined not less than $2,000, nor more than $20,000, plus the costs of prosecution and court costs, or such person shall be imprisoned for up to 120 days, or such person shall be both fined and imprisoned according to the foregoing limitations.

(e) Any person convicted of a class B environmental misdemeanor shall be fined not less than $250, nor more than $1,000, plus the costs of prosecution and court costs, or such person shall be imprisoned for up to 30 days, or such person shall be both fined and imprisoned according to the foregoing limitations. Any person convicted of a class B environmental misdemeanor within 5 years of a prior conviction for a class B or greater environmental misdemeanor shall be fined not less than $500, nor more than $2,000, plus the costs of prosecution and court costs, or such person shall be imprisoned for up to 60 days, or such person shall be both fined and imprisoned according to aforesaid limitations.

(f) Any person convicted of a class C environmental violation shall be fined not less than $100, nor more than $250, plus the costs of prosecution and court costs. Any person convicted of a class C environmental violation within 5 years of a prior conviction for a class C or greater environmental violation shall be fined not less than $100, nor more than $500, plus the costs of prosecution and court costs, or such person shall be imprisoned for up to 20 days, or such person shall be both fined and imprisoned according to the foregoing limitations.

(g) Any person convicted of a class D environmental violation shall be fined not less than $50, nor more than $100, plus the costs of prosecution and court costs. Any person convicted of a class D environmental violation within 5 years of a prior conviction for a class D or greater environmental misdemeanor shall be fined not less than $100, nor more than $500, plus the costs of prosecution and court costs.

(h) Any fine imposed for any environmental misdemeanor shall not be suspended to any amount less than the minimum prescribed fine.

(i) Any conviction of a class C or class D environmental violation, for a first offense, shall not be reported on criminal history records kept by DELJIS or the State. This provision shall not apply to a subsequent conviction of a class C or class D environmental violation within 5 years, and any such subsequent conviction shall be reported. DNREC is authorized to retain records on environmental violations in whatever form the Secretary deems necessary in order to ensure that the second offense and higher penalties are pursued when appropriate, and the Justice of the Peace Courts are instructed to take judicial notice of DNREC's records for this purpose.

26 Del. Laws, c. 164, § 16; 26 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 16; Code 1915, §§ 2391A, 2405; 30 Del. Laws, c. 176, § 3; 40 Del. Laws, c. 191, § 23; Code 1935, §§ 2851, 2865; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 1304; 52 Del. Laws, c. 290; 63 Del. Laws, c. 389, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 106; 70 Del. Laws, c. 436, § 6; 79 Del. Laws, c. 421, § 6.;

Where a corporation is accused of violating this part, the warrant of arrest may be read to the president, secretary, or manager in this State, or to any general or local agent thereof in any county where the action or indictment is pending. Upon return of the warrant so served, the corporation shall be deemed in court and subject to the jurisdiction thereof. Any fine imposed may be collected by execution against the property of the corporation. This section shall not exempt an agent or employee from prosecution.

26 Del. Laws, c. 164, § 10; Code 1915, § 2399; Code 1935, § 2859; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 1305.;

Whoever, being an official, officer or Fish and Wildlife Agent, fails to perform any act, duty or obligation enjoined upon the person by this part, shall be guilty of a class D environmental violation.

26 Del. Laws, c. 164, § 11; Code 1915, § 2400; Code 1935, § 2860; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 1306; 70 Del. Laws, c. 105, § 8; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 421, § 6.;

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.

26 Del. Laws, c. 164, §§ 12, 15; 27 Del. Laws, c. 155, §§ 2, 3; Code 1915, § 2401; Code 1935, § 2861; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 1307; 57 Del. Laws, c. 739, § 74.;

Two or more offenses may be charged in the same affidavit, complaint or indictment. Proof as to a part of a bird, animal or fish shall be sufficient to sustain a charge to the whole of it. The violation of this part as to a number of animals, birds or fish may be charged in the same count, and punished as a separate offense as to each animal, bird or fish.

26 Del. Laws, c. 164, § 13; Code 1915, § 2402; Code 1935, § 2862; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 1308.;

(a) The justices of the peace in this State shall have jurisdiction of all offenses under this part, unless another court is given exclusive jurisdiction.

(b) Any person charged before a justice of the peace with a violation of this part shall have the right to appeal to the Court of Common Pleas for the county wherein the hearing before the justice of the peace takes place. The appeal shall be allowed by the justice at any time within 15 days from the day of giving the judgment and not after, counting the day as 1, upon the party entitled to the appeal, or the party's agent or attorney, praying it and offering sufficient security in such sum as the justice deems sufficient to cover the judgment appealed from and the costs on the appeal. The justice shall make an entry thereof as follows:

"On the ____________ day of ____________, 20____, the said ____________ appeals, and ____________ becomes surety in the ____________ sum of __________ that the said appeal shall be prosecuted with effect, and also that any judgment which shall be rendered against the said ____________ or that person's executors or administrators, upon said appeal, shall be satisfied."

The entry shall be signed by the sureties or it shall be void. When signed it shall be an obligation of record to the extent of the sum therein expressed, and shall bind the sureties and their executors and administrators, jointly and severally, to satisfy any judgment rendered on the appeal against the party appealing, or that person's executors or administrators, and, if the appeal is not duly entered in Court, or is dismissed, then to satisfy the judgment appealed from with all costs on the appeal. A civil action may be sustained on such entry before a justice, if the demand does not exceed $200, or if above that sum in the Court of Common Pleas, or if the appeal is not entered, or is dismissed, execution may be issued against the defendant and surety.

25 Del. Laws, c. 228, §§ 1, 2; Code 1915, § 2410; Code 1935, § 2863; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 1309; 69 Del. Laws, c. 423, § 5; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) No person shall sell, possess for sale, offer for sale, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, cause to be shipped, deliver for transportation, transport or cause to be transported, carry or cause to be carried, by any means whatever, for the purpose of sale, or barter, the carcass, processed byproduct, or any portion thereof of any Atlantic sailfish (istiophorus americanus), blue marlin (makaira nigricans ampla), white marlin (makaira albida) or striped marlin (makaira mitsukurii).

(b) This section shall not apply to Atlantic sailfish, blue marlin, white marlin or striped marlin, whole, packed or processed in transportation in unbroken packages and coming from any other state or country, but such packages shall be clearly marked by stencil, tag or otherwise, showing the true origin of the shipment and its destination beyond the limits of this State.

(c) Any person, who violates any provision of this section shall be charged with a class B environmental misdemeanor.

(d) The Justice of the Peace Courts shall have jurisdiction of offenses under this section.

7 Del. C. 1953, § 1201; 55 Del. Laws, c. 347; 79 Del. Laws, c. 421, § 6.;

(a) Applicability. — Any duly constituted law-enforcement officer of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control 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 Parts I and II of this title, Chapter 47 of this title or Chapter 21 of Title 23, 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 and the offender, allows the offender to dispose of the charges without the necessity of personally appearing in the court to which the summons is returnable.

(b) Definitions.

(1) "Payment" as used in this section shall mean the total amount of the fine and of the costs as herein provided and of 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 means the written agreement or document signed by the violator wherein he or she agrees to pay by mail the fine for the offense described therein together with costs and penalty assessment.

(c) 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 § 1307 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.

(d) Offenses designated as "offenses subject to voluntary assessment"; exceptions. — All offenses, as now or hereafter set forth in this title or Title 23, or regulations promulgated under the authority of this title or Title 23, are hereby designated as offenses subject to voluntary assessment except the following offenses: Violation of § 787(a) of this title.

(e) 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 or 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 was to be made that he or she wishes to withdraw his or 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 or 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 the uniform Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control 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 the arrested person 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 (i)(2) of this section, but does not waive any administrative penalty in the nature of license revocation 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 2-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 title, 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 title and Title 23 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 (j)(1) of this section, 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.

(k) Nonexclusive procedure. — The procedure prescribed is not exclusive of any other method prescribed by law for the arrest and prosecution of persons violating this title.

61 Del. Laws, c. 378, § 1; 62 Del. Laws, c. 213, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 436, §§ 7-9.;

(a) There is hereby established by this section a Wildlife Theft Prevention Special Fund which shall consist of:

(1) Moneys received from fines imposed for violations of Chapters 1, 5, 6 and 7 of this title;

(2) Moneys received from donations to the Fund;

(3) Moneys appropriated by the General Assembly to the Fund to carry out the purposes provided for in this section.

(b) Funds from the Wildlife Theft Prevention Special Fund shall be expended only for the following purposes:

(1) Financing of rewards to persons other than peace officers, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control personnel or members of their immediate families, responsible for information leading to the conviction of any person for unlawfully taking, wounding or carrying, possessing, transporting or selling wildlife or trapping, attempting to trap or illegally setting traps for the purpose of catching wildlife. The Division of Fish and Wildlife shall establish a schedule of rewards for information received and payment shall be made from the funds available for this purpose. The amount of such reward shall not exceed $1,000;

(2) Financing of a statewide telephone reporting system containing the name of Operation Game Theft;

(3) Promotion of public recognition and awareness of the Wildlife Theft Prevention Special Program.

(c) The Wildlife Theft Prevention Special Fund shall be expended in conformity with the laws governing the state financial operations, except that regulations shall be developed by the Department to maintain the confidentiality of the informant's identity.

(d) For the purpose of implementing paragraph (a)(1) of this section, all moneys received from fines assessed for violation of Chapters 1, 5, 6 and 7 of this title shall be deposited at least monthly with the State Treasurer to be retained by him or her in a Special Fund until expended upon proper vouchers of the Department to carry out the purposes of this section.

62 Del. Laws, c. 326, § 4; 67 Del. Laws, c. 307, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

All constables and police officers, and all other peace officers of this State, shall be ex officio Fish and Wildlife Agents.

70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 107; 78 Del. Laws, c. 266, § 12.;