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The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 23: Motor Vehicles

Chapter 021: TITLE TO MOTOR VEHICLES

  • Subchapter 001: General Provisions
  • § 2001. Definitions

    Except when the context otherwise requires, as used in this chapter:

    (1) "Dealer" means a person as defined in subdivision 4(8) of this title.

    (2) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

    (3) "Identification number" means the numbers and letters, if any, on a vehicle designated by the Commissioner for the purpose of identifying the vehicle.

    (4) "Lienholder" means a person holding a security interest in a vehicle.

    (5) "Owner" for certificate of title purposes, means a person, other than a lienholder, having the property in or title to a vehicle. The term includes a person entitled to the use and possession of a vehicle subject to a security interest in another person, but excludes a lessee under a lease not intended as security.

    (6) "Security agreement" means a written agreement which reserves or creates a security interest.

    (7) "Security interest" means an interest in a vehicle reserved or created by agreement and which secures payment or performance of an obligation. The term includes the interest of a lessor under a lease intended as security. The term also includes a nonpossessory attachment issued by a court of competent jurisdiction within this State. The term also includes liens obtained by the Commissioner of Taxes pursuant to the provisions of Title 32. Notwithstanding subdivision 2041(2) of this title, the term also includes arrearage liens obtained by the Office of Child Support pursuant to the provisions of Title 15. A security interest is "perfected" when it is valid against third parties generally, subject only to specific statutory exceptions.

    (8) "State" means a state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a province of the Dominion of Canada.

    (9) "Vehicle" means a motor vehicle as defined by section 4 of this title.

    (10) "Manufacturer's or importer's certificate of origin" means the original written instrument or document required to be executed and delivered by the manufacturer to his or her agent or dealer, or a person purchasing direct from the manufacturer, certifying the origin of the vehicle.

    (11) "Salvage dealer" means any person who, in a single year, purchases or in any manner acquires three motor vehicles as salvage or who scraps, dismantles, or destroys three motor vehicles in a single year.

    (12) "Rebuilt motor vehicle" means a vehicle upon which a salvage certificate of title, parts-only certificate, or other document indicating the vehicle is not sold for re-registration purposes, has been issued and which has been rebuilt and restored for highway operation.

    (13) "Salvaged motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle that has been purchased or otherwise acquired as salvage; scrapped, dismantled, or destroyed; or declared a total loss by an insurance company.

    (14) "Totaled motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle that has been declared by an insurance company to be a total loss.

    (15) "Title or certificate of title" means a written instrument or document that certifies ownership of a vehicle and is issued by the Commissioner or equivalent official of another jurisdiction. These terms do not include an exempt vehicle title authorized to be issued under subdivision 2013(a)(2) of this chapter.

    (16) "Secure assignment of title" means a form prescribed by the Commissioner that must be used to transfer ownership of a titled vehicle if all space for assignments upon the title itself has been used.

    (17) "Salvage certificate of title" means a title that is stamped or otherwise branded to indicate that the vehicle described thereon is a salvaged motor vehicle.

    (18) "Time of sale or transfer" or "date of sale" means the date when physical delivery of the vehicle to the purchaser occurs. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1983, No. 60, §§ 1, 12; 1983, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1987, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1991, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 8, 9; 1997, No. 63, § 19b, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; 2001, No. 69, § 4; 2015, No. 50, § 33a, eff. Jan. 1, 2016; 2015, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 74.)

  • § 2002. Fees

    (a) The Commissioner shall be paid the following fees:

    (1) for any certificate of title, including a salvage certificate of title, or an exempt vehicle title, $35.00;

    (2) for each security interest noted upon a certificate of title, including a salvage certificate of title, $11.00;

    (3) for a certificate of title after a transfer, $35.00;

    (4) for each assignment of a security interest noted upon a certificate of title, $11.00;

    (5) for a duplicate certificate of title, including a salvage certificate of title, $35.00;

    (6) for an ordinary certificate of title issued upon surrender of a distinctive certificate, $35.00;

    (7) for filing a notice of security interest, $11.00;

    (8) for a certificate of search of the records of the Department of Motor Vehicles, for each motor vehicle searched against, $22.00;

    (9) for filing an assignment of a security interest, $11.00;

    (10) for a certificate of title after a security interest has been released, $35.00;

    (11) for a certificate of title for a motor vehicle acquired by a veteran with financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and exempt from registration fees pursuant to section 378 of this title, no fee;

    (12) for a corrected certificate of title, $35.00.

    (b) If an application, certificate of title, or other document required to be mailed or delivered to the Commissioner under any provision of this chapter is not delivered to the Commissioner within 10 days from the time it is required to be mailed or delivered, the Commissioner shall collect, as a penalty, an amount equal to the fee required for the transaction. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1979, No. 202 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, Pt. III, eff. Sept. 1, 1980; 1983, No. 60, § 6; 1983, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1985, No. 118 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1987, No. 112, § 1; 1989, No. 51, § 45; 1995, No. 47, § 13, eff. April 20, 1995; 2001, No. 102 (Adj. Sess.), § 27, eff. May 15, 2002; 2005, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 38; 2009, No. 50, § 53; 2011, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 21; 2015, No. 50, § 33a, eff. Jan. 1, 2016; 2015, No. 159 (Adj. Sess.), § 44; 2017, No. 206 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)

  • § 2003. Power and duties of Commissioner

    (a) The Commissioner shall prescribe and provide suitable forms of applications, certificates of title, notices of security interests, and all other notices and forms necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

    (b) The Commissioner may:

    (1) make necessary investigations to procure information required to carry out the provisions of this chapter;

    (2) adopt and enforce reasonable rules to carry out the provisions of this chapter;

    (3) assign a new identification number to a vehicle if it has none, or its identification number is destroyed or obliterated, and shall issue a new certificate of title showing the new identification number for a fee of $5.00. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1983, No. 60, § 2.)

  • § 2004. Hearing

    A person aggrieved by an act or omission to act of the Commissioner under this chapter is entitled, upon request, to a hearing in accordance with section 105 of this title. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971.)

  • § 2005. Appeal

    A person aggrieved by an act or omission of the Commissioner under this chapter may appeal to the Superior Court for Washington County in the same manner as is provided for in other civil actions. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 2019, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 211.)


  • Subchapter 002: Certificates of Title
  • § 2011. Certificate of origin

    When a new vehicle is delivered in this State by the manufacturer to his or her agent or his or her franchised dealer, the manufacturer shall execute and deliver to his or her agent or his or her franchised dealer a certificate of origin in the form prescribed by the Commissioner, and no person shall bring into this State any new vehicle unless he or she has in his or her possession the certificate of origin as prescribed by the Commissioner. The certificate of origin shall contain the manufacturer's vehicle identification number of the motor vehicle, the name of the manufacturer, the make of the vehicle, the model year, number of cylinders, a general description of the body, if any, and the type of model. When a new vehicle is sold in this State, the manufacturer, his or her agent, or his or her franchised dealer shall execute and deliver to the purchaser, in case of an absolute sale, assignment of the certificate of origin or if other than absolute sale, assignment of the certificate of origin subject to contract, signed or executed by the manufacturer, his or her agent, or his or her dealer, with the genuine names and business or residence addresses of both stated thereon, and certified to have been executed with full knowledge of the contents and with the consent of both purchaser and seller. For good cause shown, the Commissioner may accept any other satisfactory evidence of the information required under this section. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1983, No. 60, § 3; 2019, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 212.)

  • § 2012. Exempted vehicles

    No certificate of title need be obtained for:

    (1) a vehicle owned by the United States, unless it is registered in this State;

    (2) a vehicle owned by a manufacturer or dealer and held for sale, even though incidentally moved on the highway or used for purposes of testing or demonstration, or used by an educational institution approved by the Agency of Education for driver training purposes, or a vehicle used by a manufacturer solely for testing;

    (3) a vehicle owned by a nonresident of this State and not required by law to be registered in this State;

    (4) a vehicle regularly engaged in the interstate transportation of persons or property for which a currently effective certificate of title has been issued in another state;

    (5) a self-propelled wheelchair or invalid tricycle;

    (6) a motorcycle that has less than 300 cubic centimeters of engine displacement or a motorcycle powered by electricity with less than 20 kilowatts of engine power;

    (7) any trailer with an unladened weight of 1,500 pounds or less;

    (8) a motor-driven cycle;

    (9) any other type of vehicle designed primarily for off-highway use and deemed exempt by the Commissioner; or

    (10) a vehicle that is more than 15 years old. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1971, No. 54, § 1, eff. April 14, 1971; 1977, No. 20, § 11; 1983, No. 60, § 7; 2009, No. 152 (Adj. Sess.), § 19k, eff. Sept. 1, 2010; 2011, No. 46, § 11; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 269, eff. Feb. 14, 2014; 2015, No. 50, § 33a, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.)

  • § 2013. When certificate required; issuance of exempt vehicle title upon request

    (a)(1) Except as provided in section 2012 of this title, the provisions of this chapter shall apply to and a title must be obtained for all motor vehicles at the time of first registration or when a change of registration is required under the provisions of section 321 of this title by reason of a sale for consideration.

    (2) In addition, a Vermont resident may apply at any time to the Commissioner to obtain an "exempt vehicle title" for a vehicle that is more than 15 years old. Such titles shall be in a form prescribed by the Commissioner and shall include a legend indicating that the title is issued under the authority of this subdivision. The Commissioner shall issue an exempt vehicle title if the applicant pays the applicable fee and fulfills the requirements of this section, and if the Commissioner is satisfied that:

    (A) the applicant is the owner of the vehicle;

    (B) the applicant is a Vermont resident; and

    (C) the vehicle is not subject to any liens or encumbrances.

    (3) Prior to issuing an exempt vehicle title pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection, the Commissioner shall require all of the following:

    (A) The applicant to furnish one of the following proofs of ownership, in order of preference:

    (i) a previous Vermont or out-of-state title indicating the applicant's ownership;

    (ii) an original or a certified copy of a previous Vermont or out-of-state registration indicating the applicant's ownership;

    (iii) sufficient evidence of ownership as determined by the Commissioner, including bills of sale or original receipts for major components of homebuilt vehicles; or

    (iv) a notarized affidavit certifying that the applicant is the owner of the vehicle and is unable to produce the proofs listed in subdivisions (i)-(iii) of this subdivision (3)(A) despite reasonable efforts to do so.

    (B) A notarized affidavit certifying:

    (i) the date the applicant purchased or otherwise took ownership of the vehicle;

    (ii) the name and address of the seller or transferor, if known;

    (iii) that the applicant is a Vermont resident; and

    (iv) that the vehicle is not subject to any liens or encumbrances.

    (C) Assignment of a new vehicle identification number pursuant to section 2003 of this title, if the vehicle does not have one.

    (b) The Commissioner shall not require an application for a certificate of title upon the renewal of the registration of a vehicle.

    (c) The Commissioner shall note on the face of the registration of each vehicle for which a certificate of title has been issued a statement to that effect. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1971, No. 54, § 2, eff. April 14, 1971; 1995, No. 112 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. Sept. 1, 1996; 2015, No. 50, § 33a, eff. Jan. 1, 2016; 2019, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), § 13, eff. July 13, 2020.)

  • § 2014. Repealed. 1971, No. 54, § 3, eff. April 14, 1971.

  • § 2015. Application for certificate

    (a) The application for the first certificate of title of a vehicle in this State shall be made by the owner to the Commissioner on the form he or she prescribes and shall contain:

    (1) the name, residence, and mail address of the owner;

    (2) a description of the vehicle, including, so far as the following data exist, its make, model, identification number, odometer reading, or hubometer reading or clock meter reading on all vehicles, type of body, the number of cylinders, and whether new or used;

    (3) the date of purchase by the applicant, the name and address of the person from whom the vehicle was acquired, and the names and addresses of any lienholders in the order of their priority and the dates of their security agreements and, if a new vehicle, the application shall be accompanied by a manufacturer's or importer's certificate of origin;

    (4) any further information the Commissioner reasonably requires to identify the vehicle and to enable him or her to determine whether the owner is entitled to a certificate of title and the existence or nonexistence of security interests in the vehicle.

    (5) [Repealed.]

    (b) If the application refers to a vehicle purchased from a dealer, it shall contain the name and address of any lienholder holding a security interest created or reserved at the time of the sale and the date of his or her security agreement and be signed by the dealer as well as the owner, and the dealer shall promptly mail or deliver the application to the Commissioner unless title is in the possession of a lienholder at the time of sale, in which case the dealer shall have until 30 calendar days after the date the dealer acquired the vehicle to mail or deliver the application to the Commissioner. The dealer shall not be entitled to the extension if the lien on the vehicle was granted by the dealer to finance vehicle inventory acquisition.

    (c) If the application refers to a vehicle last previously registered in another state or country, the application shall contain or be accompanied by:

    (1) any certificate of title issued by the other state or country;

    (2) any other information and documents the Commissioner reasonably requires to establish the ownership of the vehicle and the existence or nonexistence of security interests in it; and

    (3) the certificate of a person authorized by the Commissioner that the identification number of the vehicle has been inspected and found to conform to the description given in the application, or any other proof of the identity of the vehicle the Commissioner reasonably requires. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1983, No. 60, § 8; 1983, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985; 1995, No. 19, § 12, eff. April 17, 1995; 2019, No. 60, § 19.)

  • § 2016. Commissioner to check identification number

    The Commissioner, upon receiving application for a first certificate of title or exempt vehicle title, shall check the identification number of the vehicle shown in the application against the records of vehicles required to be maintained by section 2017 of this title and against the record of stolen and converted vehicles required to be maintained by section 2084 of this title. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; 2015, No. 50, § 33a, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.)

  • § 2017. Issuance of certificate; records

    (a) The Commissioner shall file each application received and, when satisfied as to its genuineness and regularity and that the applicant is entitled to the issuance of a certificate of title, shall issue a certificate of title of the vehicle.

    (b) The Commissioner shall maintain at his or her central office a record of all certificates of title issued by him or her for vehicles 15 years old and newer, and of all exempt vehicle titles issued by him or her, under a distinctive title number assigned to the vehicle; under the identification number of the vehicle; alphabetically, under the name of the owner; and, in the discretion of the Commissioner, by any other method he or she determines. The original records may be maintained on microfilm or electronic imaging. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1979, No. 187 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1983, No. 60, § 4; 1991, No. 165 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2009, No. 152 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; 2015, No. 50, § 33a, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.)

  • § 2018. Information on certificate

    (a) Each certificate of title issued by the Commissioner shall contain:

    (1) The date issued.

    (2) The name and address of the owner.

    (3) The names and addresses of any lienholders, in the order of priority as shown on the application or, if the application is based on a certificate of title, as shown on the certificate; however, no more than two lienholders may appear on a certificate. In the event that there are more than two lienholders on the vehicle, the certificate of title shall contain an appropriate legend as determined by the Commissioner.

    (4) The title number assigned to the vehicle.

    (5) A description of the vehicle, including, so far as the following data exist, its make, model, identification number, odometer reading, or hubometer reading or clock meter reading on all vehicles, type of body, number of cylinders, whether new or used, and, if a new vehicle, the date of the first sale of the vehicle for use.

    (6) Any other data the Commissioner prescribes.

    (b) Unless a bond is filed as provided in subdivision 2020(2) of this title, a distinctive certificate of title shall be issued for a vehicle last previously registered in another state or country the laws of which do not require that lienholders be named on a certificate of title to perfect their security interests. The certificate shall contain an appropriate legend as determined by the Commissioner and may contain any other information the Commissioner prescribes. If no notice of a security interest in the vehicle is received by the Commissioner within four months from the issuance of the distinctive certificate of title, he or she shall, upon application and surrender of the distinctive certificate, issue a certificate of title in ordinary form.

    (c) The certificate of title shall contain forms for assignment and warranty of title by the owner and for assignment and warranty of title by a dealer, and may contain forms for applications for a certificate of title by a transferee, the naming of a lienholder, and the assignment or release of the security interest of a lienholder.

    (d) A certificate of title issued by the Commissioner is prima facie evidence of the facts appearing on it.

    (e) A certificate of title for a vehicle is not subject to garnishment, attachment, execution, or other judicial process, but this subsection does not prevent a lawful levy upon the vehicle.

    (f) If a vehicle has been returned to the manufacturer after final determination, adjudication, or settlement pursuant to the provisions of 9 V.S.A. chapter 115 or after final determination, adjudication, or settlement under similar laws of any other state, any certificate of title for the vehicle shall contain an appropriate legend as determined by the Commissioner. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1983, No. 60, § 5; 1983, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1985; 1999, No. 18, § 34, eff. May 13, 1999; 2015, No. 50, § 17.)

  • § 2019. Mailing or delivering certificate

    The certificate of title shall be mailed or personally delivered, upon proper identification of the individual, to the first lienholder named in it or, if none, to the owner. However, a person is entitled to a personal delivery of only one title in a single day and of no more than three titles in a calendar month. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1979, No. 10; 2015, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 75.)

  • § 2020. Withholding of certificate; bond required

    If the Commissioner is not satisfied as to the ownership of the vehicle or that there are no undisclosed security interests in it, the Commissioner may register the vehicle but shall either:

    (1) Withhold issuance of a certificate of title until the applicant presents documents reasonably sufficient to satisfy the Commissioner as to the applicant's ownership of the vehicle and that there are no undisclosed security interests in it; or

    (2) As a condition of issuing a certificate of title, require the applicant to file with the Commissioner a bond in the form prescribed by the Commissioner and executed by the applicant, and either accompanied by the deposit of cash with the Commissioner or also executed by a person authorized to conduct a surety business in this State. The bond shall be in an amount equal to one and one-half times the value of the vehicle as determined by the Commissioner and conditioned to indemnify any prior owner and lienholder and any subsequent purchaser of the vehicle or person acquiring any security interest in it, and their respective successors in interest, against any expense, loss, or damage, including reasonable attorney's fees, by reason of the issuance of the certificate of title of the vehicle or on account of any defect in or undisclosed security interest upon the right, title, and interest of the applicant in and to the vehicle. Any such interested person has a right of action to recover on the bond for any breach of its conditions, but the aggregate liability of the surety to all persons shall not exceed the amount of the bond. The bond, and any deposit accompanying it, shall be returned at the end of three years or earlier if the vehicle is no longer registered in this State and the currently valid certificate of title is surrendered to the Commissioner, unless the Commissioner has been notified of the pendency of an action to recover on the bond. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 2019, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 213.)

  • § 2021. Refusal of certificate

    The Commissioner shall refuse issuance of a certificate of title or an exempt vehicle title if any required fee is not paid or if he or she has reasonable grounds to believe that:

    (1) the applicant is not the owner of the vehicle;

    (2) the application contains a false or fraudulent statement; or

    (3) the applicant fails to furnish required information or documents or any additional information the Commissioner reasonably requires. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 2015, No. 50, § 33a, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.)

  • § 2022. Duplicate certificate

    (a) If a certificate is lost, stolen, mutilated, or destroyed or becomes illegible, the first lienholder or, if none, the owner or legal representative of the owner named in the certificate, as shown by the records of the Commissioner, shall promptly make application for and may obtain a duplicate upon furnishing information satisfactory to the Commissioner. It shall be mailed to the first lienholder named in it or, if none, to the owner.

    (b) [Repealed.]

    (c) A person recovering an original certificate of title for which a duplicate has been issued shall promptly surrender the original certificate to the Commissioner.

    (d) When a duplicate certificate of title is issued, the Commissioner shall cause the original certificate of title for that vehicle to be revoked. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1983, No. 60, § 9; 1985, No. 106 (Adj. Sess.); 2015, No. 50, § 18.)

  • § 2023. Transfer of interest in vehicle

    (a) If an owner transfers his or her interest in a vehicle, other than by the creation of a security interest, he or she shall, at the time of delivery of the vehicle, execute an assignment and warranty of title to the transferee in the space provided therefor on the certificate or as the Commissioner prescribes, and of the odometer reading or hubometer reading or clock meter reading of the vehicle at the time of delivery in the space provided therefor on the certificate, and cause the certificate and assignment to be mailed or delivered to the transferee or to the Commissioner. Where title to a vehicle is in the name of more than one person, the nature of the ownership must be indicated by one of the following on the certificate of title:

    (1) TEN ENT (tenants by the entirety);

    (2) JTEN (joint tenants);

    (3) TEN COM (tenants in common);

    (4) PTNRS (partners); or

    (5) TOD (transfer on death).

    (b) Upon request of the owner or transferee, a lienholder in possession of the certificate of title shall, unless the transfer was a breach of his or her security agreement, either deliver the certificate to the transferee for delivery to the Commissioner or, upon receipt of notice from the transferee of the owner's assignment, the transferee's application for a new certificate, and the required fee, mail or deliver the certificate, application, and fee to the Commissioner. The delivery of the certificate does not affect the rights of the lienholder under his or her security agreement. If a dealer accepts a vehicle with a preexisting security interest as part of the consideration for a sale or trade from the dealer, the dealer shall mail or otherwise tender payment to satisfy the security interest within five days of the sale or trade.

    (c) If a security interest is reserved or created at the time of the transfer, the certificate of title shall be retained by or delivered to the person who becomes the lienholder, and the parties shall comply with the provisions of section 2043 of this title.

    (d) Except as provided in section 2024 of this title and as between the parties, a transfer by an owner is not effective until the provisions of this section and section 2026 of this title have been complied with; however, an owner who has delivered possession of the vehicle to the transferee and has complied with the provisions of this section and section 2026 of this title requiring action by him or her is not liable as owner for any damages thereafter resulting from operation of the vehicle.

    (e) Notwithstanding other provisions of the law, whenever the estate of an individual who dies intestate consists principally of an automobile, the surviving spouse shall be deemed to be the owner of the motor vehicle and title to the same shall automatically and by virtue hereof pass to the surviving spouse. Upon request, the Department shall register and title the vehicle in the name of the surviving spouse, and no fee shall be assessed. This transaction is exempt from the provisions of the purchase and use tax on motor vehicles.

    (1) Notwithstanding other provisions of the law, and except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, whenever the estate of an individual consists in whole or in part of a motor vehicle, and the person's will or other testamentary document does not specifically address disposition of motor vehicles, the surviving spouse shall be deemed to be the owner of the motor vehicle and title to the motor vehicle shall automatically pass to the surviving spouse. Upon request, the Department shall register and title the vehicle in the name of the surviving spouse, and no fee shall be assessed. This transaction is exempt from the provisions of the purchase and use tax on motor vehicles.

    (2) This subsection shall apply to no more than two motor vehicles, and shall not apply if the motor vehicle is titled in the name of one or more persons other than the decedent and the surviving spouse.

    (f) Where the title identifies a person who will become the owner upon the death of the principal owner (transfer on death), the principal owner shall have all rights of ownership and rights of transfer until his or her death. The designated transferee shall have no rights of ownership until such time as the principal owner has died as established by a valid death certificate. At that time, the transferee shall become the owner of the vehicle subject to any existing security interests. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1975, No. 71, § 2, eff. April 17, 1975; 1983, No. 104 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985; 1983, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Jan. 1, 1985; 1989, No. 51, § 46; 2001, No. 102 (Adj. Sess.), § 28, eff. May 15, 2002; 2007, No. 39, § 1; 2009, No. 55, § 6; 2011, No. 46, § 13; 2015, No. 159 (Adj. Sess.), § 45.)

  • § 2024. Resale by dealer

    If a dealer buys a vehicle, holds it for resale, and obtains the certificate of title from the owner or the lienholder, then the certificate need not be sent to the Commissioner. When the dealer transfers the vehicle to a person, other than by the creation of a security interest, he or she shall simultaneously execute the assignment and warranty of title by filling in the spaces on the certificate of title or as prescribed by the Commissioner or, if title is held by a finance source, execute a form prescribed by the Commissioner that provides proof of the transfer but does not release the lien. The certificate shall be mailed or delivered to the Commissioner with the transferee's application for a new certificate. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 2001, No. 69, § 5; 2019, No. 60, § 20.)

  • § 2025. Involuntary transfers

    (a) If the interest of an owner in a vehicle passes to another other than by voluntary transfer, the transferee shall, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, promptly mail or deliver to the Commissioner the last certificate of title, if available, proof of the transfer, and his or her application for a new certificate in the form the Commissioner prescribes.

    (b) If the interest of the owner is terminated or the vehicle is sold under a security agreement by a lienholder named in the certificate of title, the transferee shall promptly mail or deliver to the Commissioner the last certificate of title, his or her application for a new certificate in the form the Commissioner prescribes, and an affidavit made by or on behalf of the lienholder that the vehicle was repossessed and that the interest of the owner was lawfully terminated or sold pursuant to the terms of the security agreement. If the lienholder succeeds to the interest of the owner and holds the vehicle for resale, he or she need not secure a new certificate of title but, upon transfer to another person, shall promptly mail or deliver to the transferee or to the Commissioner the certificate, affidavit, and other documents required to be sent to the Commissioner by the transferee.

    (c) A person holding a certificate of title whose interest in the vehicle has been extinguished or transferred other than by voluntary transfer shall mail or deliver the certificate to the Commissioner upon request of the Commissioner. The delivery of the certificate pursuant to the request of the Commissioner does not affect the rights of the person surrendering the certificate, and the action of the Commissioner in issuing a new certificate of title is not conclusive upon the rights of an owner or lienholder named in the old certificate. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 2019, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 214.)

  • § 2026. Fee to accompany applications

    (a) An application for a certificate of title shall be accompanied by the required fee when mailed or delivered to the Commissioner.

    (b) An application for the naming of a lienholder or his or her assignee on a certificate of title shall be accompanied by the required fee when mailed or delivered to the Commissioner. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971.)

  • § 2027. Issuance of new certificate

    (a) The Commissioner, upon receipt of a properly assigned certificate of title, with an application for a new certificate of title, the required fee, and any other documents required by law, shall issue a new certificate of title in the name of the transferee as owner and mail to the first lienholder named in it or, if none, to the owner.

    (b) The Commissioner, upon receipt of an application for a new certificate of title by a transferee other than by voluntary transfer, with proof of the transfer, the required fee, and any other documents required by law, shall issue a new certificate of title in the name of the transferee as owner. If the outstanding certificate of title is not delivered to him or her, the Commissioner shall make demand therefor from the holder thereof.

    (c) The Commissioner shall file and retain for five years every surrendered certificate of title so as to permit the tracing of title of the corresponding vehicles. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1979, No. 187 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2011, No. 46, § 20; 2019, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 215.)

  • § 2028. Repealed. 1983, No. 60, § 11(1).

  • § 2029. Suspension or revocation of certificate

    (a) The Commissioner shall suspend or revoke a certificate of title or exempt vehicle title, upon notice and reasonable opportunity to be heard in accordance with section 2004 of this chapter, if he or she finds:

    (1) the certificate of title or exempt vehicle title was fraudulently procured or erroneously issued; or

    (2) the vehicle has been scrapped, dismantled, or destroyed.

    (b) Suspension or revocation of a certificate of title does not, in itself, affect the validity of a security interest noted on it.

    (c) When the Commissioner suspends or revokes a certificate of title or exempt vehicle title, the owner or person in possession of it shall, immediately upon receiving notice of the suspension or revocation, mail or deliver the certificate to the Commissioner.

    (d) The Commissioner may seize and impound any certificate of title or exempt vehicle title which has been canceled, suspended, or revoked. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 2001, No. 69, § 6; 2015, No. 50, § 33a, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.)


  • Subchapter 003: Security Interests
  • § 2041. Certain liens and security interests not affected

    This chapter does not apply to or affect:

    (1) a lien given by statute or rule of law to a supplier of services or materials for the vehicle;

    (2) a lien given by statute to the United States, this State, or any political subdivision of this State;

    (3) a security interest in a vehicle created by a manufacturer or dealer who holds the vehicle for sale, but a buyer in the ordinary course of trade from the manufacturer or dealer takes free of the security interest. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971.)

  • § 2042. Perfecting security interest

    (a) Unless excepted by section 2041 of this title, a security interest in a vehicle of a type for which a certificate of title is required is not valid against creditors of the owner or subsequent transferees or lienholders of the vehicle unless perfected as provided in this subchapter.

    (b) A security interest is perfected by the delivery to the Commissioner of the existing certificate of title, if any, an application for a certificate of title containing the name and address of the lienholder and the date of his or her security agreement, and the required fee. It is perfected as of the time of its creation if delivery is completed within 20 days thereafter, otherwise as of the time of the delivery.

    (c) If a vehicle is subject to a security interest when brought into this State, the validity of the security interest is determined by the law of the jurisdiction where the vehicle was when the security interest attached, subject to the following:

    (1) If the parties understood at the time the security interest attached that the vehicle would be kept in this State and it was brought into this State within 30 days thereafter for purposes other than transportation through this State, the validity of the security interest in this State is determined by the law of this State.

    (2) If the security interest was perfected under the law of the jurisdiction where the vehicle was when the security interest attached, the following rules apply:

    (A) If the name of the lienholder is shown on an existing certificate of title issued by that jurisdiction, his or her security interest continues perfected in this State.

    (B) If the name of the lienholder is not shown on an existing certificate of title issued by that jurisdiction, the security interest continues perfected in this State for four months after a first certificate of title of the vehicle is issued in this State, and also thereafter if, within the four-month period, it is perfected in this State. The security interest may also be perfected in this State after the expiration of the four-month period; in that case perfection dates from the time of perfection in this State.

    (3) If the security interest was not perfected under the law of the jurisdiction where the vehicle was when the security interest attached, it may be perfected in this State; in that case, perfection dates from the time of perfection in this State.

    (4) A security interest may be perfected under subdivision (2)(B) or subdivision (3) of this subsection either as provided in subsection (b) of this section or by the lienholder delivering to the Commissioner a notice of security interest in the form the Commissioner prescribes and the required fee. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1979, No. 38.)

  • § 2043. Duties on creation of security interest

    If an owner creates a security interest in a vehicle:

    (1) The owner shall immediately execute the application, in the space provided therefor on the certificate of title or on a separate form the Commissioner prescribes, to name the lienholder on the certificate, showing the name and address of the lienholder and the date of his or her security agreement, and cause the certificate, the application, and the required fee to be delivered to the lienholder.

    (2) The lienholder shall immediately cause the certificate, the application, and the required fee to be mailed or delivered to the Commissioner.

    (3) Upon request of the owner or subordinate lienholder, a lienholder in possession of the certificate of title shall either mail or deliver the certificate to the subordinate lienholder for delivery to the Commissioner or, upon receipt from the subordinate lienholder of the owner's application and the required fee, mail or deliver them to the Commissioner with the certificate. The delivery of the certificate does not affect the rights of the first lienholder under his or her security agreement.

    (4) Upon receipt of the certificate of title, the application, and the required fee, the Commissioner shall either endorse the certificate or issue a new certificate containing the name and address of the new lienholder, and mail the certificate to the first lienholder named in it. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971.)

  • § 2044. Assignment of security interest

    (a) A lienholder may assign, absolutely or otherwise, his or her security interest in the vehicle to a person other than the owner without affecting the interest of the owner or the validity of the security interest, but any person without notice of the assignment is protected in dealing with the lienholder as the holder of the security interest and the lienholder remains liable for any obligations as lienholder until the assignee is named as lienholder on the certificate.

    (b) The assignee may, but need not to perfect the assignment, have the certificate of title endorsed or issued with the assignee named as lienholder, upon delivering to the Commissioner the certificate and an assignment by the lienholder named in the certificate in the form the Commissioner prescribes. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971.)

  • § 2045. Release of security interest

    (a) Upon satisfaction of a security interest in a vehicle for which the lienholder possesses the certificate of title, the lienholder shall, within 12 business days after a request for release of the security interest, fully execute a release of the security interest in the space provided on the certificate or in the form the Commissioner prescribes and mail or deliver the certificate and release to the next named lienholder or, if none, to the owner or any person authorized by the owner to receive the certificate (hereafter, "owner's designee"). The owner or the owner's designee, other than a dealer holding the vehicle for resale, shall promptly cause the certificate and release to be mailed or delivered to the Commissioner, who shall release the lienholder's rights on the certificate or issue a new certificate.

    (b) Upon satisfaction of the security interest of a subordinate lienholder who does not possess the certificate of title, the subordinate lienholder shall, within 12 business days after a request for release of the security interest, fully execute a release in the form the Commissioner prescribes and deliver the release to the owner or the owner's designee. The lienholder in possession of the certificate of title shall either deliver the certificate to the owner or the owner's designee for delivery to the Commissioner or, if the lienholder in possession receives the release, mail or deliver it with the certificate to the Commissioner, who shall release the subordinate lienholder's rights on the certificate or issue a new certificate. A subordinate lienholder whose security interest is fully satisfied but receives the certificate of title pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall, within three business days of its receipt, mail or deliver the title to the owner or the owner's designee.

    (c) For purposes of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, a release not sent by electronic means is deemed fully executed when it is completed and placed in the U.S. mail postage prepaid or delivered to the person requesting the release as shown on the form so requesting it.

    (d) A lienholder that fails to satisfy the requirements of subsection (a) or (b) of this section shall, upon written demand sent by certified mail, be liable to pay the owner or the owner's designee $25.00 per day for each day that the requirements of subsection (a) or (b) remain unsatisfied, up to a maximum of $2,500.00, in addition to any other remedies that may be available at law or equity. If the lienholder fails to pay the amount owed under this subsection within 60 days following the written demand, the owner or the owner's designee may bring a civil action and, if the lienholder is found to have violated subsection (a) or (b) of this section, the amount owed under this subsection shall be trebled, resulting in an award of up to $7,500.00, and reasonable attorney's fees and costs shall be awarded. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 2011, No. 46, § 14; 2019, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 216.)

  • § 2046. Lienholder to furnish information

    A lienholder named in a certificate of title shall, upon written request of the owner or of another lienholder named on the certificate, disclose any pertinent information as to his or her security agreement and the indebtedness secured by it. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971.)

  • § 2047. Method of perfecting security interest exclusive

    The method provided in this subchapter of perfecting and giving notice of security interests subject to this subchapter is exclusive. Security interests subject to this subchapter are hereby exempted from the provisions of law that otherwise require or relate to the filing of instruments creating or evidencing security interests. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971.)

  • § 2048. Terminal rental adjustment clauses; vehicle leases that are not sales or security interests

    In the case of motor vehicles or trailers, notwithstanding any other provision of law, a transaction does not create a sale or security interest merely because it provides that the rental price is permitted or required to be adjusted under the agreement either upward or downward by reference to the amount realized upon sale or other disposition of the motor vehicle or trailer. (Added 1993, No. 27, § 6.)


  • Subchapter 004: Previously Registered Vehicles
  • §§ 2061-2069. Repealed. 1983, No. 60, § 11(2)-(10).


  • Subchapter 005: Anti-theft Provisions and Penalties
  • § 2081. Application of subchapter

    (a) This subchapter does not apply to a self-propelled wheelchair or invalid tricycle.

    (b) The provisions of this subchapter that apply to certificates of title shall also apply to salvage certificates of title, exempt vehicle titles, certificates of origin, and secure assignments of title. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1991, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 2015, No. 50, § 33a, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.)

  • § 2082. Altering, forging, or counterfeiting certificates; penalty

    (a) A person who with fraudulent intent commits any of the following acts shall be subject to the penalties provided in subsection (b) of this section:

    (1) alters, forges, counterfeits, or knowingly makes or causes to be made a false official certificate of title;

    (2) alters or forges an assignment of a certificate of title, or an assignment or release of a security interest, on a certificate of title or a form the Commissioner prescribes;

    (3) has possession of or uses a certificate of title knowing it to have been altered, forged, counterfeited, or fraudulently obtained or made; or

    (4) uses a false or fictitious name or address, or makes a material false statement, or fails to disclose a security interest, or conceals any other material fact in or alters information on or forges a signature on an application for a certificate of title or duplicate certificate of title.

    (b) A person convicted of violating this section shall be fined not less than $500.00 or more than $5,000.00 or be imprisoned not less than one year or more than five years, or both. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1991, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 2001, No. 69, § 7; 2015, No. 47, § 37.)

  • § 2083. Other offenses

    (a) A person who:

    (1) knowing that another person is not entitled to use or possess a certificate of title, knowingly permits that person to use or possess the certificate, shall be subject to the penalties prescribed in subdivision (5) of this subsection;

    (2) knowingly fails to mail or deliver a certificate of title or application for a certificate of title to the Commissioner within 30 days after the transfer or creation or satisfaction of a security interest shall be subject to the penalties prescribed in subdivision (5) of this subsection;

    (3) knowingly fails to deliver to his or her transferee a certificate of title within 30 days after the transfer shall be subject to the penalties prescribed in subdivision (5) of this subsection;

    (4) knowingly and without authority signs a name other than his or her own on any title, or knowingly alters or inaccurately states the chain of ownership or other information required on any title, or knowingly fails to return a certificate of title that has been fraudulently made, or knowingly has unauthorized possession of blank certificates of title or manufacturer's certificates of origin, shall be subject to the penalties prescribed in subdivision (5) of this subsection;

    (5) knowingly violates any provision of this chapter, except as provided in subdivision (6) of this subsection or section 2082 of this title, shall be fined not more than $2,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both; or

    (6) knowingly represents as his or her own or sells or transfers a motor vehicle or vessel to which he or she does not hold legal title or is not authorized by the titleholder to sell or transfer, shall be fined not more than $5,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both, for each offense.

    (b) Absent a showing of a knowing failure to deliver as provided in subdivision (a)(3) of this section, a person who fails to deliver to his or her transferee a certificate of title within 30 days after the transfer commits a traffic violation and shall be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $1,000.00. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1991, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; 2001, No. 69, § 8; 2009, No. 39, § 6; 2011, No. 46, § 15; 2019, No. 60, § 22.)

  • § 2084. Report of theft, recovery of unclaimed vehicle

    (a) An enforcement officer, sheriff, or constable who learns of the theft of a vehicle not since recovered, or of the recovery of a vehicle whose theft or conversion he or she knows or has reason to believe has been reported to the Commissioner, shall forthwith report the theft or recovery to the Commissioner.

    (b) An owner or a lienholder may report the theft of a vehicle, or its conversion if a crime, to the Commissioner, but the Commissioner may disregard the report of a conversion unless a warrant has been issued for the arrest of a person charged with the conversion. A person who has so reported the theft or conversion of a vehicle shall, forthwith after learning of its recovery, report the recovery to the Commissioner.

    (c) An operator of a place of business for garaging, repairing, parking, or storing vehicles for the public, in which a vehicle remains unclaimed for a period of 30 days, shall, within five days after the expiration of that period, report the vehicle as unclaimed to the Commissioner. A vehicle left by its owner whose name and address are known to the operator or his or her employee is not considered unclaimed. A person who fails to report a vehicle as unclaimed in accordance with this subsection forfeits all claims and liens for its garaging, parking, or storing and shall be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $25.00 for each day his or her failure to report continues.

    (d) The Commissioner shall maintain and appropriately index weekly any cumulative public records of stolen, converted, recovered, and unclaimed vehicles reported to him or her pursuant to this section. The Commissioner may make and distribute copies of the weekly records so maintained to enforcement officers upon request without fee and to others for the fee, if any, the Commissioner prescribes.

    (e) The Commissioner may suspend the registration of a vehicle whose theft or conversion is reported to him or her pursuant to this section; until the Commissioner learns of its recovery or that the report of its theft or conversion was erroneous, he or she shall not issue a certificate of title for the vehicle. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 2019, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 217.)

  • § 2085. False report

    A person who knowingly makes a false report of the theft or conversion of a vehicle to an enforcement officer or to the Commissioner shall be fined not more than $500.00 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1971.)

  • § 2086. Impeachment of defendant

    In a prosecution for a crime specified in this subchapter, a certified copy of a conviction under section 2082 of this title is admissible to impeach the credibility of the defendant. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1971.)

  • § 2087. Construction with other laws

    The penal provisions of this subchapter in no way repeal or modify any existing provision of criminal law but are additional and supplementary. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 2019, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 218.)


  • Subchapter 006: Salvage Title
  • § 2091. Salvage certificates of title; forwarding of plates and titles of crushed vehicles

    (a) Except for vehicles for which no certificate of title is required pursuant to section 2012 of this title and for vehicles that are more than 15 years old, any person who purchases or in any manner acquires a vehicle as salvage; any person who scraps, dismantles, or destroys a motor vehicle; or any insurance company or representative thereof who declares a motor vehicle to be a total loss, shall apply to the Commissioner for a salvage certificate of title within 15 days of the time the vehicle is purchased or otherwise acquired as salvage; is scrapped, dismantled, or destroyed; or is declared a total loss. However, an insurance company or representative thereof proceeding under subsection (c) of this section may apply outside this 15-day window to the extent necessary to comply with the requirements of that subsection.

    (b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the application shall be accompanied by:

    (1) any certificate of title; and

    (2) any other information or documents that the Commissioner may reasonably require to establish ownership of the vehicle and the existence or nonexistence of any security interest in the vehicle.

    (c)(1) An insurer required to obtain a salvage certificate of title under this section for a vehicle declared a total loss, or a representative of the insurer, may obtain the title without satisfying the requirements of subsection (b) of this section if the application for the salvage certificate of title is accompanied by:

    (A) the required fee;

    (B) evidence that the insurer has made payment for the total loss of the vehicle, and evidence that the payment was made to any lienholder identified in the records of certificates of title of the Department and to the vehicle owner, if applicable; and

    (C) a copy of the insurer's written request for the certificate of title sent at least 30 days prior to the application to the vehicle owner and to any lienholder identified in the records of certificates of title of the Department, proof that the request was sent by certified mail or was delivered by a courier service that provides proof of delivery, and copies of any responses from the vehicle owner or lienholder.

    (2) If the Commissioner issues a salvage certificate of title to an eligible person under this subsection, the title shall be issued free and clear of all liens.

    (d) Except for vehicles for which no certificate of title is required under this chapter, when a vehicle is destroyed by crushing for scrap, the person causing the destruction shall immediately mail or deliver to the Commissioner the certificate of title endorsed "crushed" and signed by the person, accompanied by the original plate showing the original vehicle identification number. The plate shall not be removed until such time as the vehicle is crushed.

    (e) This section shall not apply to, and salvage certificates of title shall not be required for, unrecovered stolen vehicles or vehicles stolen and recovered in an undamaged condition, provided that the original vehicle identification number plate has not been removed, altered, or destroyed and the number thereon is identical with that on the original title certificate. (Added 1983, No. 60, § 10; amended 1983, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2007, No. 19, § 6; 2015, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 76.)

  • § 2092. Issuance of salvage title

    The Commissioner shall file and maintain in the manner provided in section 2017 of this title each application received and when satisfied as to its genuineness and regularity and that the applicant is entitled to the issuance of a salvage certificate of title, shall issue a salvage certificate of title to the vehicle. (Added 1983, No. 60, § 10; amended 1983, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 4.)

  • § 2093. Salvaged, totaled, and rebuilt vehicles

    (a) If a vehicle upon which a salvage certificate of title, a parts-only certificate, or other document indicating the vehicle is not sold for re-registration purposes has been or should have been issued by the Commissioner or by any other jurisdiction or person, or a vehicle that has been declared a totaled motor vehicle is rebuilt and restored for highway operation, the owner thereof shall not apply for a certificate of title or registration, and none shall be issued until the vehicle has been inspected by the Commissioner or his or her authorized representative. The inspection of the vehicle shall be conducted in the manner prescribed by the Commissioner and shall include verification of the vehicle identification number and bills of sale or titles for major component parts used to rebuild the vehicle. When necessary, a new vehicle identification number shall be attached to the vehicle as provided by section 2003 of this title. Any new title issued for such vehicles shall contain the legend "rebuilt."

    (b) Any person who sells, trades, or offers for sale or trade any interest in a salvaged, salvaged and rebuilt, or totaled vehicle shall disclose the fact that the vehicle has been salvaged, salvaged and rebuilt, or totaled to a prospective purchaser both orally and in writing before a sale, trade, or transfer is made. Written disclosure that the vehicle has been salvaged, salvaged and rebuilt, or totaled, in addition to being disclosed on the certificate of title as required by this subchapter, shall also be conspicuously disclosed on any bill of sale, transfer, purchase, or other agreement.

    (c) Failure of the seller to provide the notices required by this section shall result in the seller being required, at the option of the buyer, to refund to the buyer the purchase price, including taxes, license fees, and similar governmental charges. (Added 1983, No. 60, § 10; amended 1987, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1991, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; 2015, No. 50, § 19.)

  • § 2094. Records; inspection

    (a) Each person who purchases or in any manner acquires a motor vehicle as salvage shall keep and maintain for a period of not less than five years such records as may be prescribed by the Commissioner which are reasonably necessary to substantiate the information contained in the application required by sections 2091 and 2093 of this title. These records shall include parts and accessories obtained and used for the repair or rebuilding, or both, of a vehicle, and such financial records that will allow the Commissioner to determine if the person qualifies to become or remain licensed as a "salvage dealer."

    (b) The Commissioner or his or her agents may inspect and examine the books, records, premises, and vehicles on the premises of any salvage dealer during the usual business hours of the day to verify the truth and accuracy of any information furnished in connection with the provisions of this subchapter.

    (c) Any salvage dealer who in any manner receives a motor vehicle which does not have a plate attached to said vehicle bearing the vehicle identification number shall notify the Commissioner in writing that such a vehicle has been received within seven days. (Added 1983, No. 60, § 10; amended 1991, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 14.)

  • § 2095. Penalty

    (a) A person who violates any provision of section 2094 of this subchapter shall be fined not more than $500.00 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

    (b) A person who violates any provision of this subchapter other than section 2094 shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both. (Added 1983, No. 60, § 10; amended 1991, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 15.)


  • Subchapter 007: Abandoned Motor Vehicles
  • § 2151. Definitions

    As used in this subchapter:

    (1)(A) "Abandoned motor vehicle" means:

    (i) a motor vehicle that has remained on public or private property or on or along a highway for more than 48 hours without the consent of the owner or person in control of the property and has a valid registration plate or public vehicle identification number that has not been removed, destroyed, or altered; or

    (ii) a motor vehicle that has remained on public or private property or on or along a highway without the consent of the owner or person in control of the property for any period of time if the vehicle does not have a valid registration plate or the public vehicle identification number has been removed, destroyed, or altered.

    (B) "Abandoned motor vehicle" does not include a vehicle or other equipment used or to be used in construction or in the operation or maintenance of highways or public utility facilities, which is left in a manner that does not interfere with the normal movement of traffic.

    (2) "Landowner" means a person who owns or leases or otherwise has authority to control use of real property.

    (3) "Public vehicle identification number" means the public vehicle identification number that is usually visible through the windshield and attached to the driver's side of the dashboard, instrument panel, or windshield pillar post or on the doorjamb on the driver's side of the vehicle. (Added 2003, No. 101 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 77.)

  • § 2152. Authorized removal of abandoned motor vehicles

    (a) Public property. A law enforcement officer is authorized to remove or cause removal of an abandoned motor vehicle from public property, and may contact a towing service for its removal, based upon personal observation by the officer that the vehicle is an abandoned motor vehicle.

    (b) Private property.

    (1) A law enforcement officer is authorized to remove or cause removal of an abandoned motor vehicle from private property, and may contact a towing service for its removal, based upon the request of the landowner on whose property the vehicle is located and information indicating that the vehicle is an abandoned motor vehicle.

    (2) A landowner of private property is authorized to remove or cause removal of an abandoned motor vehicle from that property or to any other place on any property of the landowner, and may contact a towing service for its removal. A landowner who removes or causes removal of an abandoned motor vehicle shall immediately notify the police agency in the jurisdiction from which the vehicle is removed and provide the registration plate number, the public vehicle identification number, if available, and the make, model, and color of the vehicle. The landowner may remove the vehicle from the place where it is discovered to any other place on any property owned by him or her, or cause the vehicle to be removed by a towing service under the provisions of this subsection, without incurring any civil liability to the owner of the abandoned vehicle. (Added 2003, No. 101 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 77.)

  • § 2153. Abandoned motor vehicle certification

    (a) A landowner on whose property an abandoned motor vehicle is located shall apply to the Department for an abandoned motor vehicle certification on forms supplied by the Department within 30 days of the date the vehicle was discovered on or brought to the property unless the vehicle has been removed from the property. An abandoned motor vehicle certification form shall indicate the date that the abandoned motor vehicle was discovered or brought to the property; the make, color, model, and location of the vehicle; the name, address, and telephone number of the landowner; and a certification of the public vehicle identification number, if any, to be recorded by a law enforcement officer. This subsection shall not be construed as creating a private right of action against the landowner.

    (b) Upon receipt of an abandoned motor vehicle certification form, the Commissioner shall attempt to identify and notify the owner of the vehicle as required by section 2154 of this title. If no owner can be determined by the Commissioner within the time period allowed by section 2154 of this title, the Commissioner shall issue a certificate of abandoned motor vehicle with appropriate title or salvage title, or both, and the vehicle may be disposed of in the manner set forth in section 2156 of this title. (Added 2003, No. 101 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 77.)

  • § 2154. Identification and reclamation of abandoned motor vehicles

    (a) The Department shall make a reasonable attempt to locate an owner of an abandoned motor vehicle.

    (1) If the abandoned motor vehicle is not identifiable by its registration plates or public vehicle identification number, and if no owner can be determined within 21 days of the date of receipt of the abandoned motor vehicle certification form, the Commissioner shall issue a certificate of abandoned motor vehicle with an appropriate title or salvage title.

    (2) If the abandoned motor vehicle is identifiable by its registration plates or public vehicle identification number, the Department shall, within three business days of receipt of the form for certification of abandoned motor vehicle, send notice to the last known registered owner and lienholder of the vehicle. The notice shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and shall advise the last known registered owner of the motor vehicle's location and a telephone number where additional information about the motor vehicle may be obtained. If the receipt is not returned to the Department within seven business days, the Commissioner shall, by first-class mail, send a second notice. Within 21 days of sending the second notice, the last known registered owner or lienholder may reclaim and retrieve the motor vehicle by presenting to the Department satisfactory evidence of ownership and paying or arranging to pay any fees or charges authorized by section 2155 of this title. If the last known registered owner or lienholder fails or refuses to reclaim the motor vehicle within 21 days of the second mailing, the Commissioner shall issue a certificate of abandoned motor vehicle with appropriate title or salvage title.

    (b) An owner or lienholder may reclaim an abandoned motor vehicle by presenting to the Department satisfactory evidence of ownership, and paying or reimbursing, or making arrangements to pay or reimburse, the towing agency, the Department, or the landowner, as the case may be, any towing fee or storage charges permitted under section 2155 of this title. (Added 2003, No. 101 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 77.)

  • § 2155. Fees and charges

    (a) Towing fees. For towing an abandoned motor vehicle from private property, a towing service may charge a reasonable fee to be paid by the vehicle owner or the landowner of the private property.

    (b) Storage charges. In addition to any towing fee, an owner or lienholder reclaiming an abandoned motor vehicle may be charged and shall pay a fee for the costs of storage of the vehicle, except that no fee may be charged for storage for any period preceding the date upon which the form for abandoned motor vehicle certification is sent to the Department. (Added 2003, No. 101 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 77.)

  • § 2156. Disposal of abandoned motor vehicles

    (a) If the Commissioner issues the certificate of abandoned motor vehicle, title to the motor vehicle shall pass to the holder of the certificate of abandoned motor vehicle, free from all claims of the owner or prior holder of the motor vehicle, and of all persons claiming through or under the owner or prior holder. The Commissioner shall issue an appropriate title or salvage title of the motor vehicle at no charge.

    (b) Except for intentionally inflicted damage or gross negligence, neither the State nor any of its agents or employees shall be liable to the owner for any damage to the motor vehicle during the period in which the State retains custody. (Added 2003, No. 101 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2157. Municipal enforcement

    The provisions of this subchapter shall not preempt any municipal abandoned motor vehicle ordinance. (Added 2003, No. 101 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2158. Fees for towing; public property; funding

    (a) A towing service may charge a fee of up to $40.00 for towing an abandoned motor vehicle from public property under the provisions of sections 2151-2157 of this title. This fee shall be paid to the towing service upon the issuance by the Department of Motor Vehicles of a certificate of abandoned motor vehicles under section 2156 of this title. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall notify the Commissioner of Finance and Management who shall issue payment to the towing service for vehicles removed from public property. Payments under this section shall terminate upon the payment of a total of $16,000.00 for towing abandoned motor vehicles from public property in any fiscal year. A towing company shall not be eligible for more than 50 percent of this annual allocation.

    (b) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles is authorized to expend up to $16,000.00 of the Department's annual appropriation for the purpose of this section. (Added 2005, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 53.)