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(a) This section applies to motor vehicles whose model year age is 8 years of age or older on the date of towing.
(b) Any wrecker owner is vested with a lien as defined in § 3901 of Title 25 upon taking possession of any motor vehicle described in subsection (a) of this section.
(c) The wrecker owner in possession of a motor vehicle and requesting a Delaware certificate of title shall contact the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles to determine the owner(s) of any vehicle with undetermined ownership within 5 calendar days of towing the vehicle.
(d) The owner and all secured parties shall be notified by the wrecker owner within 10 days of the wrecker owner's receipt of information from the Division of Motor Vehicles. This notification must be by registered mail or certified mail.
(e) The owner and all secured parties shall either satisfy the lien or respond to the notification within 5 calendar days from receipt of said notification. This response shall include either a signed release of interest in the vehicle pursuant to § 3904 of Title 25 or a signed letter contesting the disposal.
(1) If the owner and/or any secured party contests the lien or the disposal, the person may contest the lien or the disposal to the closest Justice of the Peace Court to the address of the wrecker owner.
(2) If the owner and/or secured party does not reply within 5 days from the receipt of said notification, the wrecker owner may proceed to sell according to § 3903 of Title 25.
(f) The wrecker owner shall have the vehicle inspected by the Delaware State Police Auto Theft Unit between the date the vehicle is towed and the thirtieth day following that date.
(g) If the unit is released by the registered owner and all secured parties, the wrecker owner may proceed to transfer the vehicle without having to comply with Chapter 39 of Title 25. This transfer shall be made to a salvage yard without a certificate of title, but shall be made on forms furnished by the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
(h) If the model year of the unit cannot be determined, then it will not be subject to this section.
(i) If the name and address of the owner or secured party is not recorded with the Division of Motor Vehicles, the wrecker owner assumes unencumbered title after the vehicle has been in the wrecker owner's possession for 30 days. Any transfer shall be made to a salvage yard without a certificate of title but shall be made on forms furnished by the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
(j) Any wrecker owner may transfer a vehicle described in subsection (a) of this section directly to a licensed automotive recycler when said vehicle has been in the wrecker owner's possession for 30 days, without owner notification, only after the vehicle has been inspected by the State Police Auto Theft Unit and upon receipt of a Certificate Of Authority To Dispose Of A Towed Vehicle Form issued by the Department. A wrecker owner shall be issued a Certificate Of Authority To Dispose Of A Towed Vehicle Form when the wrecker owner submits to the Department the approved application form:
(1) Along with the State Police Vehicle Inspection Report and a copy of the corresponding Police Tow Form; or
(2) When the vehicle has been towed from private property, along with other documentary evidence of the right to the possession, containing description of vehicle, date towed, location towed from and person authorizing the towing.
(k) Any wrecker owner who violates this section shall, for the first offense, be fined not less than $25 nor more than $50 for each vehicle violation. For each subsequent life offense within 1 year the wrecker owner shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $100 for each vehicle violation.
(l) The last known registered owner of an abandoned vehicle is considered to be the prima facie owner of the vehicle at the time it was abandoned and to be the person who abandoned it.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Delaware Code Title 21. Motor Vehicles § 4415. Disposal of vehicles 8 years of age or older by wrecker owners - last updated January 01, 2019 | https://codes.findlaw.com/de/title-21-motor-vehicles/de-code-sect-21-4415/
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