DEL CODE § 4402 : Delaware Code - Section 4402: ENFORCEMENT; REMOVAL OF ABANDONED VEHICLES; TRANSFER THEREOF

(a) This chapter shall be enforced with respect to state or public highways or property within a municipality which maintains a police force by that police force. In all other instances, the State Police or the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (hereinafter "Department") shall enforce this chapter, except that, in New Castle County, the New Castle County Police shall have concurrent authority to enforce this chapter. New Castle County Code Enforcement Constables shall have concurrent authority to enforce the notice provisions of subsections (d) and (e) of this section. The Department of Transportation shall have a limited role in causing vehicles to be removed from state or public highways, as stated herein.

(b) Upon the discovery of a vehicle on any state or public highway or property or the property or roads of any political subdivision or state or public highways within a municipality or upon any express highway in the State concerning which vehicle there are reasonable grounds to believe to be an abandoned vehicle, the State Police, county police or municipal police, as the case may be, shall post a notice at some conspicuous place on the vehicle, which shall direct that such vehicle be removed by a stated time and date (such time and date to be not less than 12 hours following the posting of such notice). If the vehicle is not removed within the time period designated by such notice, the abandoned vehicle shall be removed to a storage area designated by the Department or the State Police or its successor.

(c) In the event that a vehicle is abandoned on private property without the consent of the owner or occupant thereof, at the complaint of the property owner or occupant, such vehicle may be caused to be removed by the State Police, county police or municipal police, as the case may be, in the manner provided in this chapter, except that the posting required in subsection (b) of this section may be omitted.

(d) If an abandoned vehicle is on private property with the consent of the owner or occupant thereof, of if an abandoned vehicle is owned by the owner or occupant of the private property where the vehicle is located, representatives of the Department or State Police may enter upon the property where such vehicle is located to ascertain its ownership. The Department shall notify the owner of the abandoned vehicle by certified mail sent to the owner's last known address to remove such vehicle within 7 days from the date of the mailing. If the vehicle is not removed within 7 days or if the owner cannot be located for the purpose of sending the written notice, then representatives of the Department or State Police may enter upon the property where the vehicle is located and conspicuously affix thereto a sticker or tag showing the time and date of its affixing, advising the owner that if the vehicle is not removed within 24 hours from the time of the affixing of the sticker, the vehicle shall be removed to a storage area designated by the Department or the State Police. This subsection shall not apply to automobile graveyards as defined in § 1202(b)(2) of Title 17 nor to any vehicle on private property which is not visible from the street or road and is not otherwise a nuisance or a health or fire hazard.

(e) The notice required by subsections (b) and (d) of this section shall state that, if such vehicle is not so removed, it will be removed and stored at a storage area designated by the Department or the State Police at the owner's expense, and thereafter will be subject to disposal in accordance with law. Such notice shall also set forth verbatim § 4414 of this title. If the vehicle shall not have been removed by the time and date specified in the notice, the police officer or agents or employees of the Department or State Police shall take such vehicle into custody and shall cause it to be removed and stored for safekeeping in the storage area designated by the Department or the State Police. The officer shall promptly notify the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security, upon a form to be supplied by the Secretary for that purpose, of the action which has been taken with respect to such vehicle.

(f) This chapter shall not apply to any removal of a vehicle unless the removal is directed by the appropriate police authority or the Department or State Police or its successor.

(g) Any person who possesses or on whose property any abandoned vehicle or motor vehicle is found or who owns a vehicle or motor vehicle for which the certificate of title is lost or destroyed and such vehicle or motor vehicle is more than 8 years old and has no engine or is otherwise totally inoperable, may transfer the vehicle or motor vehicle to a licensed automotive recycler without the certificate of title on forms furnished by the Department. In such cases, the licensed automotive recycler may take the vehicle or motor vehicle in that person's possession and shall immediately obtain from the Division of Motor Vehicles the name and address of the last known owner of the vehicle or motor vehicle or secured party. The licensed automotive recycler shall give at least 10 days' notice to the owner or secured party by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the vehicle is not reclaimed within the 10-day period specified in the notice, the licensed automotive recycler assumes unencumbered title to the vehicle.

If the name and address of the owner or secured party cannot be obtained from the records of the Division of Motor Vehicles or by exercising reasonable diligence, the licensed automotive recycler assumes unencumbered title after the vehicle or motor vehicle has been in the recycler's possession for 30 days.

Notice of assumption of ownership shall be made to the Division of Motor Vehicles on forms devised by the Division.

(h) In the event that a vehicle is abandoned or parked within a private right-of-way, alleyway or easement in such a manner as to impede the flow of traffic, at the complaint of any property owner or occupant or other person with a right-of-passage across the private right-of-way, alleyway or easement, such vehicle may be caused to be removed by the State Police, county police or municipal police, as the case may be, in the manner provided in this chapter, except that the posting required in subsection (b) of this section may be omitted and that the provisions of this chapter shall be applied to said parked vehicle as if it were an abandoned vehicle.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4402; 55 Del. Laws, c. 173; 56 Del. Laws, c. 153; 57 Del. Laws, c. 670, § 16A; 57 Del. Laws, c. 713, §§ 2-5; 58 Del. Laws, c. 119, §§ 1-4; 63 Del. Laws, c. 265, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 421, § 1; 65 Del. Laws, c. 318, § 5; 66 Del. Laws, c. 236, §§ 1-3; 67 Del. Laws, c. 249, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 60, §§ 4, 5; 74 Del. Laws, c. 110, §§ 91, 92; 75 Del. Laws, c. 333, § 1.;