STATE REVENUE - MOTOR VEHICLES
AN ACT to amend Chapter 6 of the Revised Code of the State of Delaware, in relation to the Identification of motor vehicles.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:
Section 1. That 254 Section 217 of Chapter 6 of the Revised Code of the State of Delaware be and the same is hereby amended by adding thereto the following new section to be styled "254-K Section 217-K."
254-K Section 217-K. No certificate of the registration of any motor vehicle or registration tags therefor, whether original issues or duplicates, .shall hereafter be issued or furnished by the Secretary of State unless the applicant therefor shall at the same time make application for and be granted an official certificate of title of such motor vehicle, or shall present satisfactory evidence that such a certificate has been previously issued to the applicant covering such motor vehicle. Said application shall be upon a blank form to be furnished by the Secretary of State, and shall contain a full description of the motor vehicle, together with a statement of the applicant's title and of any liens or encumbrances upon said motor, vehicle. The secretary of state shall use reasonable diligence in ascertaining whether or not the facts stated in said application for a certificate of title are true, and if satisfied that the applicant is the lawful owner of such motor vehicle or otherwise entitled to have the same registered in his name, shall thereupon issue an appropriate certificate over his signature and sealed with the seal of his office, procured and used for such purpose. Said certificate shall contain such description and other evidences of identification of said motor vehicle as the Secretary a State may deem reasonably necessary and proper, together. with a statement of any liens or encumbrances which the application may show to be thereon. The charge for each original certificate so issued shall be one dollar ($1.00), which charge shall be in addition to the charge for the registration of such motor vehicle. Said certificate shall be good for the life of the car, so long as the same is owned or held by the original holder of such certificate, and shall not have to be renewed annually. In the case of motor vehicles now owned and already registered in this State during the year 1921, an application for a certificate of title, accompanied by such evidences of ownership and liens as the Secretary of State may require, shall be made within ninety (90) days after this Act becomes effective. Immediately upon the passage of this Act, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to cause to be printed copies of this section and to mail to every person to whom he has issued a certificate of registration for the year 1921 one of such printed copies accompanied by a specific notice that the title of such motor vehicle must be registered as herein provided. After the expiration of said ninety days, it shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than five dollars ($5.00) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), for any person to operate in this State a motor vehicle under a Delaware registration number unless such certificate of title shall have been issued as herein provided. In the event of the sale or transfer of the ownership of a motor vehicle for which an original certificate of title has been issued as aforesaid, the original holder of such certificate shall endorse on the back of the same am assignment thereof, with warranty of title in form printed thereon, with a statement of all liens or encumbrances on said motor vehicle, and deliver the same to the purchaser or transferee at the time of the delivery to him of such motor vehicle. The purchaser or transferee shall then present such certificate, assigned as aforesaid, to the Secretary of State, at the time of making application for the registration of such motor vehicle, whereupon a new certificate of title shall be issued to the assignee, the charge therefor being one dollar ($1.00). Said original certificates, when so assigned and returned to the Secretary of State, together with subsequent assignments of reissues of certificates, shall be retained by the Secretary of State and appropriately indexed, so that at all times it will be possible for him expeditiously to trace title to the motor vehicle designated therein. Beginning with the expiration of ninety days from the date upon which this Act becomes effective, and thereafter, it shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than five ($5.00) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), or by imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years, or both, for anyone to sell or to purchase within the limits of this State any motor vehicle, unless at the time of the delivery thereof there shall pass between the parties such certificate of title with an assignment thereof in the form prescribed by the Secretary of State. Any person who shall knowingly make any false statement, either in his application for the ownership certificate herein, provided for or in any assignment thereof, or who, with intent to procure or pass title to a motor vehicle which he knows or has reason to believe has been stolen, shall receive or transfer possession of the same from or to another, or who shall operate or be an occupant of any motor vehicle which he knows or has reason to believe has been stolen, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500.00) or more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), or by imprisonment for not less than sixty (60) days or more than five (5) years, or by both fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court. This provision shall not be regarded as exclusive of other penalties prescribed by existing or any future law for the larceny or unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. In the case of manufacturers-and dealers in motor vehicles, motorcycles, side-cars or trailers, all of which are intended to be covered by this and all other provisions of this section, a separate certificate of title, either of such dealers immediate vendor, or of the dealer himself, shall be required in the case of each motor vehicle in his possession, and the Secretary of State shall determine the form in which applications for such certificates of title and assignments thereof shall be made, in case forms differing from those used in case of individuals are in his judgment reasonably required; provided, however, that no such certificates shall be required in the case of new Motor vehicles sold by manufacturers to dealers as the term "dealers" is defined in 238 Sec. 201 of this Act.
The receipts of the Secretary of State under the provisions of this section shall be set aside and retained by him in a separate fund, and used : First, to meet the additional expenses of his office necessitated by the registration and recording herein required; the balance of such fund to be used by him in the employment of additional assistants, and measures to prevent, so far as reasonably possible, the theft of automobiles and disposition of stolen automobiles in this State, and for no other purpose. If, at the end of any year, there is a balance in said fund said balance shall be carried into the next year for the uses aforesaid, and shall not revert to the State Treasury.
In the case of a lost certificate, the loss of which is accounted for to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State, a duplicate may be issued ; the charge therefor to be fifty (50) cents.
Any person who shall alter or forge any certificate of title issued by the Secretary of State pursuant to the provisions of this section, or any assignment thereof, or who shall hold or use any such certificate or assignment knowing the same to have been altered or forged, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof shall be required to pay a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), or in default of the payment thereof be imprisoned for a period of not less than one (1) year, nor more than ten (10) years, or be both fined and imprisoned, in the discretion of the Court.
Any person who removes, defaces, alters, changes, destroys or obliterates, in any manner or way, or who causes to be removed, defaced, altered, changed, destroyed or obliterated, in any manner or way, any trade mark, distinguishing or identification mark, serial number or mark on or from any motor vehicle, as defined in this Act, or who shall sell any such motor vehicle, knowing the same to be in such condition, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine of not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), or by imprisonment for any term not exceeding seven (7) years, or both, in the discretion of the court.
Any person having in his possession or custody (as owner or otherwise) at the time of the enactment of this section, a motor vehicle on which or from which any trade mark, distinguishing number or identification number, serial number, or mark has been, or is, covered, removed, defaced, destroyed or obliterated, or altered or changed in any way, shall within sixty (60) days from the passage of this Act, file with the Secretary of State a verified statement showing the source of his title, the proper trademarks, identification or distinguishing number, serial number or mark, if known ; and, if known, the manner of and reason for such mutilation, change, alteration, concealment or defacement, the length of time such vehicle has been held and the price paid therefor; and no prosecution shall be had under this paragraph when such statement has been properly filed and the new mark or number provided for in this Section properly substituted ; otherwise the penalty prescribed in this section to be imposed.
Any person who shall, after the enactment of this section, come into possession or custody (as owner or otherwise) of any motor vehicle from which or on which any trade mark, distinguishing or identification number, serial number or marks has been or is covered, removed, defaced, destroyed or obliterated, or altered or changed in any manner or way, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine of not less than five dollars ($5.00) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), or imprisonment for not more than seven years, or both, in the discretion of the court, unless such person shall, within ten (10) days from the time when such motor vehicle shall have come into his possession, file with the Secretary of State the verified statement required by this Section, and substitute a new distinguishing mark or number as next hereinafter provided.
In the case of an obliterated or defaced mark or number being reported as aforesaid, the Secretary of State shall assign a new distinguishing mark or number to be used in lieu of the one so obliterated or defaced, after which the mark or number so assigned shall be regarded as the one thereafter properly to be used within the meaning of this section after such mark or number is placed upon such motor vehicle in a permanent manner.
This Act shall take effect from and after the first day of June, A. D. 1921.
Approved March 24, A. D. 1921.