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Title 56 - Motor Vehicles
PROTECTION OF TITLES TO AND INTERESTS IN MOTOR VEHICLES
For the purposes of this chapter and Chapter 21 of Title 16, the following terms are defined as follows:
(1) "Authorized emergency vehicle" means vehicles of the fire department, police vehicles, and the ambulances and emergency vehicles of municipal departments or public service corporations designated or authorized by the chief of police or governing body of a municipality.
(2) "Bicycle" means every device propelled by human power upon which a person may ride, having two tandem wheels.
(3) "Bus" means every motor vehicle designed for carrying more than ten passengers and used for the transportation of persons and every motor vehicle, other than a taxicab, designed and used for the transportation of persons for compensation.
(4) "Dealer" or "motor vehicle dealer" means both "dealer" and "wholesaler", as defined in Chapter 15 of this title.
(5) "Driver" means every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle.
(6) "Essential parts" means all integral and body parts of a vehicle of a type required to be registered under this title, the removal, alteration, or substitution of which would tend to conceal the identity of the vehicle or substantially alter its appearance, model, type, or mode of operation.
(8) "Farm tractor" means every motor vehicle designed and used primarily as a farm implement for drawing plows, mowing machines, and other implements of husbandry.
(9) "Foreign vehicle" means every vehicle of a type required to be registered under this title brought into this State from another state, territory, or country, other than in the ordinary course of business by or through a manufacturer or dealer, and not registered in this State.
(10) "House trailer" means:
(a) a trailer or semitrailer which is designed, constructed, and equipped as a dwelling place, living abode, or sleeping place, either permanently or temporarily, and is equipped for use as a conveyance on streets and highways; or
(b) a trailer or a semitrailer whose chassis and exterior shell is designed and constructed for use as a house trailer, as defined in subitem (a) of this item, but which is used instead permanently or temporarily for the advertising, sales, display, or promotion of merchandise or services or for another commercial purpose except the transportation of property for hire or the transportation of property for distribution by a private carrier.
(11) "Identifying number" means the numbers and letters, if any, on a vehicle designated by the department for the purpose of identifying the vehicle.
(12) "Implement of husbandry" means every vehicle, including mobile barns, designed and adapted exclusively for agricultural, horticultural, or livestock-raising operations or for lifting or carrying an implement of husbandry and in either case not subject to registration if used upon the highways.
(13) "Lienholder" means a person holding a security interest in a vehicle.
(14) "Mail" means to deposit in the United States mail, properly addressed and with postage prepaid.
(15) "Manufacturer" means every person engaged in the business of constructing or assembling vehicles of a type required to be registered under this title at an established place of business in this State.
(16) "Motor vehicle" means every vehicle which is self- propelled, except mopeds, and every vehicle which is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails.
(17) "Motorcycle" means every motor vehicle having no more than two permanent functional wheels in contact with the ground or trailer and having a saddle for the use of the rider, but excluding a tractor.
(18) "Motor-driven cycle" means every motorcycle, including every motor scooter with a motor which produces not to exceed five horsepower.
(19) "Nonresident" means every person who is not a resident of this State.
(20) "Operator" means every person, other than a chauffeur, who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle upon a highway or who is exercising control over or steering a vehicle being towed by a motor vehicle.
(21) "Owner" 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.
(22) "Pole trailer" means every vehicle without motive power designed to be drawn by another vehicle and attached to the towing vehicle by means of a reach or pole or by being boomed or otherwise secured to the towing vehicle and ordinarily used for transporting long or irregularly shaped loads such as poles, pipes, or structural members capable, generally, of sustaining themselves as beams between the supporting connections.
(23) "Previously registered vehicle" means a vehicle registered in this State on January 1, 1958, or a vehicle whose last registration before that date was in this State.
(24) "Reconstructed vehicle" means every vehicle of a type required to be registered under this title materially altered from its original construction by the removal, addition, or substitution of essential parts, new or used.
(25) "Registration" means the registration certificate or certificates and registration plates issued under the laws of this State pertaining to the registration of vehicles.
(26) "Road tractor" means every motor vehicle designed and used for drawing other vehicles and not constructed to carry any load on it, either independently or any part of the weight of a vehicle or load drawn.
(27) "School bus" means every motor vehicle owned by a public or governmental agency and operated for the transportation of children to or from school, or privately owned and operated for compensation for the transportation of children to or from school.
(28) "Security agreement" means a written agreement which reserves or creates a security interest.
(29) "Security interest" means an interest in a vehicle reserved or created by agreement and which secures payment or performance of an obligation, conditional sale contract, conditional lease, chattel mortgage, or other lien or encumbrance, except taxes or attachment liens provided for in Section 29-15-20. The term includes the interest of a lessor under a lease intended as security. A security interest is 'perfected' when it is valid against third parties generally, subject only to specific statutory exceptions.
(30) "Semitrailer" means every vehicle with or without motive power, other than a pole trailer, designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and constructed so that some part of its weight and that of its load rests upon or is carried by another vehicle.
(31) "Special mobile equipment" means every vehicle not designed or used primarily for the transportation of persons or property and only incidentally operated or moved over a highway including, but not limited to: ditchdigging apparatus, well-boring apparatus, and road construction and maintenance machinery, such as asphalt spreaders, bituminous mixers, bucket loaders, tractors other than truck tractors, ditchers, leveling graders, finishing machines, motor graders, road rollers, scarifiers, earth-moving carryalls and scrapers, power shovels and draglines, and self-propelled cranes and earth-moving equipment. The term does not include house trailers, dump trucks, truck-mounted transit mixers, cranes, or shovels, or other vehicles designed for the transportation of persons or property to which machinery has been attached.
(32) "Specifically constructed vehicle" means every vehicle of a type required to be registered under this title not originally constructed under a distinctive name, make, model, or type by a generally recognized manufacturer of vehicles and not materially altered from its original construction.
(33) "Trackless trolley coach" means every motor vehicle which is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires but not operated upon rails.
(34) "Trailer' means every vehicle with or without motive power, other than a pole trailer, designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and constructed so that no part of its weight rests upon the towing vehicle.
(35) "Transporter" means every person engaged in the business of delivering vehicles of a type required to be registered under this title from a manufacturing, assembling, or distributing plant to dealers or sales agents of a manufacturer.
(36) "Truck" means every motor vehicle designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.
(37) "Truck tractor" means every motor vehicle designed and used primarily for drawing other vehicles and not constructed to carry a load other than a part of the weight of the vehicle and load drawn.
(38) "Vehicle" means every device in, upon, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.
(39) "Mobile home" means every vehicle which is designed, constructed, and equipped principally as a permanent dwelling place and is equipped to be moved on streets and highways, but which exceeds the size limitations prescribed in Section 56-3-710 and which cannot be licensed and registered by the department as a 'house trailer'.
(40) "Odometer" means an instrument for measuring and recording the actual distance a motor vehicle travels while in operation; it does not include an auxiliary instrument designed to be reset by the operator of the motor vehicle for the purpose of recording the distance traveled on trips.
(41) "Odometer reading" means actual cumulative distance traveled disclosed on the odometer.
(42) "Odometer disclosure statement" means a statement, as prescribed by item (d) of subsection (1) of Section 56-19-240, certified by the owner of the motor vehicle to the transferee or to the department as to the odometer reading.
(43) "Moped" means, notwithstanding item (2), every cycle with pedals to permit propulsion by human power or without pedals and with a motor of not more than fifty cubic centimeters which produces not to exceed two brake horsepower and which is not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed in excess of thirty miles an hour on level ground. If an internal combustion engine is used, the moped must have a power drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged.
(44) "Automotive three-wheel vehicle" means a motor vehicle having no more than three permanent functional wheels in contact with the ground, having a bench seat for the use of the operator, and having an automotive type steering device, but excluding a tractor and a motorcycle three-wheel vehicle.
(45) "Motorcycle three-wheel vehicle" means a motor vehicle having no more than three permanent functional wheels in contact with the ground to include motorcycles with detachable side cars, having a saddle type seat for the operator, and handlebars or a motorcycle type steering device, but excluding a tractor or automotive three-wheel vehicle.
Administration and enforcement.
The Department is hereby vested with the power and is charged with the duty of observing, administering and enforcing the provisions of this chapter and Chapter 21 of Title 16.
[1962 Code Section 46-141; 1957 (50) 595] Repealed by 1996 Act No. 459, Section 246A, eff June 5, 1996.
Department shall examine all applications; investigations; rejections.
The Department shall examine and determine the genuineness, regularity and legality of every application for registration of a vehicle or for a certificate of title therefor and of any other application lawfully made to the Department and may in all cases make investigations as may be deemed necessary or require additional information and shall reject any such application if not satisfied of the genuineness, regularity or legality thereof or the truth of any statement contained therein, or for any other reason, when authorized by law.
Department shall seize expired, fictitious and certain other certificates, cards, permits, licenses and plates.
The Department may take possession of any certificate of title, registration card, permit, license or registration plate issued by it (a) upon expiration, revocation, cancellation or suspension thereof, (b) which is fictitious or (c) which has been unlawfully or erroneously issued.
Method of giving notice; proof of service.
Whenever the Department is authorized or required to give any notice under this chapter or Chapter 21 of Title 16, unless a different method of giving such notice is otherwise expressly prescribed, such notice shall be given either by personal delivery thereof to the person to be so notified or by deposit in the United States mail of such notice by certified mail in an envelope with postage prepaid, addressed to such person at his address as shown by the records of the Department. The giving of notice by mail is complete upon the expiration of ten days after the deposit of the notice. Proof of the giving of notice in either such manner may be made by the certificate of any officer or employee of the Department or affidavit of any person over eighteen years of age, naming the person to whom such notice was given and specifying the time, place and manner of the giving thereof.
Refunds of fees.
Whenever any application to the Department is accompanied by any fee as required by law and such application is refused or rejected, the fee shall be returned to the applicant.
Whenever the Department through error collects any fee not required to be paid under this chapter, the fee may be refunded on its own initiative and shall be refunded to the person paying the fee upon application therefor made within six months after the date of such payment.
Disposition of fees and penalties.
All fees and penalties collected by the department pursuant to the provisions of this chapter or Chapter 21 of Title 16 shall be placed in the state general fund for the administration of this chapter and for other department purposes."
The Department shall prescribe and provide suitable forms of applications, certificates of title and all other forms requisite or deemed necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter and Chapter 21 of Title 16.
Judicial review of Department's acts.
A person aggrieved by an act or omission to act by the Department under this chapter or Chapter 21 of Title 16 is also entitled to a review thereof by the circuit court in accordance with laws of this State relating to appeals.
CERTIFICATES OF TITLE
Certificate of title required to sell or mortgage vehicle or mobile home; exception.
It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or offer for sale or mortgage in this State any vehicle of a type required to be registered and licensed in this State, or any mobile home, unless a certificate of title has been issued therefor and is currently valid; but this provision shall not apply to South Carolina dealers in the sale or offering for sale of new vehicles or mobile homes for which there is a manufacturer's certificate of origin made out to the person offering such vehicle or mobile homes for sale.
Exemption of certain 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 a vehicle used by the 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 vehicle moved solely by animal power;
(6) An implement of husbandry;
(7) Special mobile equipment not required to be registered and licensed in this State;
(8) A pole trailer; and
(9) Vehicles not required to be licensed and registered in this State, except mobile homes.
(10) A vehicle used by its manufacturer in a benefit program for the manufacturer's employees.
(11) A vehicle used by its manufacturer for testing, distribution, evaluation, and promotion, subject to the limitation in Section 56-3-2332(B)(2).
Owners shall apply for certificates.
Except as otherwise provided for in this chapter, every owner of a vehicle which is in this State and for which no certificate of title has been issued by the Department shall make application to the Department for a certificate of title of the vehicle.
Application for certificate; form and contents.
(1) An application for a certificate of title for a vehicle in this State must be made by the owner to the department on the form it prescribes and must contain or be accompanied by:
(a) the name and residence and mailing address of the owner;
(b) a description of the vehicle, including, so far as the following data exists, its make, model, year, vehicle identification number, type of body, odometer reading at the time of application, and whether new or used;
(c) the date of acquisition by 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;
(d) an odometer disclosure statement made by the transferor of the vehicle and acknowledged by the transferee. The statement must be in compliance with federal guidelines and as prescribed by the department. Where more than one transfer has intervened between the previous certificate of title and the application for a new certificate of title, it must be shown that the certificate of title has been signed by the owner or by the owner's attorney in fact, and there must be for each intervening transfer thereafter a bill of sale in a form approved by the department, including a completed odometer disclosure statement. Additionally, the odometer disclosure statement on the application form must be completed by the applicant;
(e) any further information or documentation the department reasonably requires to enable it to determine: the identity of the vehicle, whether the owner is entitled to a certificate of title, the existence or nonexistence of security interests in the vehicle, and the accuracy of the odometer disclosure statement.
(2) If the application is not for the first certificate of title, it shall be accompanied by the last certificate of title previously issued for the vehicle, whether issued by this State or another state or country.
(3) 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 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 department. If the application refers to a new vehicle purchased from a dealer, the application shall also be accompanied by the manufacturer's certificate of origin.
(4) Any person who knowingly gives a false statement on the application or knowingly gives a false statement concerning the odometer reading on an odometer disclosure statement shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be subject to a fine of up to one thousand dollars or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, at the discretion of the court. These penalties shall be in addition to the penalties provided by the federal odometer law (Subchapter IV of Chapter 46 of Title 15 of the United States Code - 15 U.S.C. Sections 1981-1991).
(5) In addition to the other information required in an application, the application for title for a mobile or manufactured home must include the address of the site on which the home is to be placed if different from the owner's address.
Department shall check application against list of stolen and converted vehicles.
The Department, upon receiving an application for a first certificate of title, shall check the identifying number of the vehicle shown in the application against the record of stolen and converted vehicles required by Section 56-19-850 to be maintained by the Department.
Filing application; issuance of certificate.
The Department 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.
Refusal of certificate.
The Department shall refuse issuance of a certificate of title if any required fee is not paid or if it 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 Department reasonably requires.
Refusal of certificate; vehicle reported stolen or converted.
When the theft or conversion of a vehicle is reported to the department pursuant to Sections 56-19-810 or 56-19-820, until the department learns of its recovery or that the report of its theft or conversion was erroneous, it must not issue a certificate of title for the vehicle. A title may be issued on a vehicle that is reported stolen only in cases where the settlement to an insurance company is involved.
Contents of certificate.
Each certificate of title issued by the Department 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, and dates of the liens, or if the application is based on a certificate of title, as shown on the certificate;
(4) The title number assigned to the vehicle;
(5) A description of the vehicle including, so far as the following data exists: its make, model, vehicle identification number, odometer reading at the time of application, and type of body;
(6) Any other data the Department prescribes.
The certificate of title shall contain forms for assignment and warranty of title by the owner and for reassignment and warranty of title by a dealer and may contain forms for application 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.
Contents of certificate for vehicle last registered where lienholders not named on certificate.
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 the legend, "THIS VEHICLE MAY BE SUBJECT TO AN UNDISCLOSED LIEN," and may contain any other information the Department prescribes.
Numbering certificates issued to successive owners; two transfers when auctioneer gives title.
The certificate of title issued to the first owner of a new vehicle must be designated by the letter suffix "A" after the title number. Titles issued to subsequent owners of such a vehicle must be designated "B", "C", "D", and "E" in the order of ownership. Titles issued to subsequent owners shall contain no letter suffix.
Certificate as prima facie evidence of facts therein.
A certificate of title issued by the Department is prima facie evidence of the facts appearing on it.
Record of certificates issued.
The Department shall maintain a record of all certificates of title issued by it.
Certificate mailed to first lienholder or, if none, to owner.
The certificate of title must be mailed to the first lienholder named in it or given to the lienholder's authorized agent or, if none, to the owner.
Duplicate certificates; surrender of recovered original.
If a certificate of title is lost, stolen, mutilated or destroyed or becomes illegible, the owner or legal representative of the owner named in the certificate, as shown by the records of the Department, shall promptly make application for and may obtain a duplicate upon furnishing information satisfactory to the Department. The duplicate certificate of title shall contain the legend, "THIS IS A DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO THE RIGHTS OF A PERSON UNDER THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE." It shall be mailed to the owner named in it or his legal representative.
A person recovering an original certificate of title for which a duplicate has been issued shall promptly surrender the original certificate to the Department.
Procedures for voluntary transfer; duties of transferor and transferee; effective time of transfer.
If an owner, manufacturer or dealer transfers his interest in a vehicle other than by the creation of a security interest, he shall, at the time of the delivery of the vehicle, execute an assignment and warranty of title to transferee in the space provided therefor on the certificate or as the Department prescribes and cause the certificate and assignment to be mailed or delivered to the transferee or to the Department.
Except as provided in Section 56-19-370, the transferee shall, promptly after delivery to him of the vehicle, execute the application for a new certificate of title in the space provided therefor on the certificate or as the Department prescribes and cause the certificate and application to be mailed or delivered to the Department.
Except as provided in Section 56-19-370, and as between the parties, a transfer by an owner is not effective until the provisions of this section have been complied with.
Procedures for voluntary transfer; dealer purchasing vehicle for resale.
If a dealer buys a vehicle and holds it for resale and procures the certificate of title from the owner within forty-five days after delivery to him of the vehicle, he need not send the certificate to the department, but, upon transferring the vehicle to another person other than by the creation of a security interest, promptly shall execute the assignment and warranty of title by a dealer, showing the names and addresses of the transferee and of any lienholder holding a security interest created or reserved at the time of the resale and the date of his security agreement, in the spaces provided on the certificate or as the department prescribes, and mail or deliver the certificate to the department with the transferee's application for a new certificate.
Procedures for voluntary transfer; issuance of new certificate.
The Department, 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 it to the owner named in it or his legal representative.
Procedures for involuntary transfer or repossession.
(1) 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 (2) of this section, promptly mail or deliver to the Department the last certificate of title, if available, proof of the transfer and his application for a new certificate in the form the Department prescribes.
(2) 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, or by foreclosure of a statutory lien or sale pursuant to Section 29-15-10, the transferee shall promptly mail or deliver to the department the last certificate of title or order of court pertaining to sale, his application for a new certificate in the form the department prescribes and an affidavit made by or on behalf of the lienholder that the vehicle was repossessed and that the security interest of the owner was lawfully terminated or sold pursuant to the terms of the security agreement, or by foreclosure of a statutory lien. If the lienholder succeeds to the interest of the owner and holds the vehicle for resale, he 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 department the certificate, affidavit and other documents required to be sent to the department by the transferee, and the department shall, upon request, issue a new title free and clear of prior liens and encumbrances.
Procedures for involuntary transfer or repossession; issuance of new certificate.
The Department, 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 it, the Department shall make demand therefor from the holder thereof.
Procedures for involuntary transfer or repossession; surrender of old certificate; effect of surrender and issuance of new certificate.
A person holding a certificate whose interest in the vehicle has been extinguished or transferred other than by voluntary transfer shall mail or deliver the certificate to the Department upon request of the Department. The delivery of the certificate pursuant to the request of the Department does not affect the rights of the person surrendering the certificate, and the action of the Department in issuing a new certificate of title as provided in Section 56-19-400 is not conclusive upon the rights of an owner or lienholder named in the old certificate.
(A) The department shall charge ten dollars for:
(1) the issuance of a certificate of title;
(2) the transfer of a certificate of title; or
(3) the issuance of a duplicate certificate of title.
(B) Five dollars of the fee contained in this section must be placed in a special earmarked account by the Comptroller General and must be distributed in the following manner:
(1) the first one million dollars must be allocated to the Department of Education and used to support adult education programs; and
(2) the remainder must be allocated to the Department of Public Safety and used to support highway patrol programs.
Fee for furnishing odometer reading.
The department shall be authorized to charge a fee of three dollars for furnishing the odometer reading or other odometer information concerning a particular vehicle to a requesting party.
Assignment of new identifying number; issuance of new, or endorsement of, original certificate.
The Department may assign a new identifying number to a vehicle if it has none, its identifying number is destroyed or obliterated or its motor is changed and shall either issue a new certificate of title showing the new identifying number or make an appropriate endorsement on the original certificate.
Suspension or revocation of certificate.
The Department shall suspend or revoke a certificate of title:
(1) If it finds
(a) the certificate of title was fraudulently procured or erroneously issued or
(b) the vehicle has been scrapped, dismantled or destroyed;
(2) When the Department determines that the fee has not been paid and such fee is not paid under reasonable notice and demand; or
(3) When the Department determines that the owner has committed any offense under this chapter or Chapter 21 of Title 16 involving the certificate to be suspended or revoked.
Effect of suspension or revocation on validity of security interest.
Suspension or revocation of a certificate of title does not, in itself, affect the validity of a security interest noted on it.
Surrender of suspended or revoked certificate.
When the Department suspends or revokes a certificate of 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 Department.
Seizure of suspended or revoked certificate.
The Department may seize and impound any certificate of title which has been suspended or revoked.
Transfer and surrender of certificates, license plates, registration cards and manufacturers' serial plates of vehicles sold as salvage, abandoned, scrapped or destroyed.
(A) An owner who scraps, dismantles, destroys, or in any manner disposes to another as wreckage or salvage, a motor vehicle otherwise required to be titled in this State immediately shall mail or deliver to the department the vehicle's certificate of title notifying the department to whom the vehicle is delivered together with a report indicating the type and severity of any damage to the vehicle.
(B) If a vehicle is acquired by an insurance company in settlement of a claim to the vehicle by fire, flood, collision, or other causes, or is left with the claimant after being declared a total loss by the insurance company, the company or its agent immediately shall deliver to the department the certificate of title together with a report indicating the type and severity of damage to the vehicle. At such time as the insurance company may thereafter transfer the damaged vehicle, the company or its agent shall notify the department to whom the transfer was made on a form prescribed by the department.
(C) All insurance companies which make payments on liability, collision, fire, theft, or comprehensive policies for damaged motor vehicles in this State shall allow department officials to examine all records of the company which pertain to payments made pursuant to the policies during normal working hours.
(D) Vehicles acquired by insurance companies as outlined above are exempt from ad valorem property taxes and inventory taxes, and the transfers of the vehicles to and from insurance companies exempt from sales taxes.
(E) If a salvage vehicle is rebuilt, a regular certificate of title may not again be issued except upon submission of an application stating that the vehicle has been rebuilt and containing the information ordinarily required by the department for the issuance of a certificate of title as well as any information the department may require about the identity of the vehicle, the source and cost of any parts used in, and the extent of any repairs or other work done to the vehicle. In addition, the department may require the vehicle to undergo an inspection by the Highway Patrol or someone authorized by the department to check the identity or the safety of the vehicle, or both. Any regular certificate of title issued by the department for a previously salvaged vehicle must be annotated to show that the vehicle was "salvaged-rebuilt" and the reason why the vehicle was salvaged.
(F) The manufacturer's serial plate or vehicle identification number (VIN) plate must remain with the vehicle at all times until the vehicle is shredded, crushed, melted, or otherwise destroyed.
(G) For purposes of this section, a "wrecked vehicle", a "salvage vehicle", and a "vehicle declared to be a total loss" are all synonyms and are defined to be any motor vehicle which is damaged to the extent that the cost of repairing the motor vehicle, including both parts and reasonable market charges for labor, equal or exceed seventy-five percent of the fair market value of the motor vehicle. When an insurance company is involved, the fair market value of the vehicle must be determined as of the date immediately before the event which gave rise to the claim. When an insurance company is not involved, then the fair market value must be determined as of the last day on which the vehicle was lawfully operated on a public highway or the last day on which it was registered, whichever is later.
(H) A person violating any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, for a first offense, must be fined not less than two nor more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both. For a second or subsequent offense, the fine must not be less than five hundred dollars and not more than one thousand dollars or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
Designation of vehicles as "wreckage" or "salvage", etc.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, whenever any motor vehicle which qualifies as "wreckage" or "salvage" is transferred in this State pursuant to Section 56-19-480, whether the vehicle was, immediately before such transfer, titled in this State or in another state, the vehicle shall be designated as "wreckage" or "salvage", as may be applicable, to the extent necessary to inform the transferee of the exact condition of the vehicle. No wrecked or salvaged out-of-state vehicle or South Carolina-registered vehicle shall be registered under the laws of this State without such designation, and this designation must be applied to all subsequent transfers of the vehicle.
The provisions of this section apply to transfers of vehicles in all of the circumstances described in Section 56-19-480, whether the vehicle is "totaled", declared a total loss, "junked", or "salvaged".
Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the owner of a vehicle whose total cost of repair, including all labor and parts, is estimated to be seventy-five percent or more of the fair market value of the vehicle must provide the department an affidavit from a person who reconstructs or rebuilds a vehicle indicating the cost of repair along with other data the department may prescribe to obtain a certificate of title. A certificate of title issued for a vehicle described in this paragraph must be annotated to indicate the motor vehicle is designated "wreckage" or "salvage" as applicable to the extent necessary to inform the transferee of the exact condition of the vehicle. A wrecked or salvaged out-of-state vehicle or South Carolina registered vehicle may not be registered in this State without this designation, and this designation must be applied to subsequent transfer of the vehicle.
"Lemon Law" returns; notification; penalties.
(A) In every sale or transfer of a motor vehicle returned to the manufacturer under the provisions of Chapter 28, Title 56, a similar statute of another state, or as the result of a legal action, the title must have the following sentence printed on its face in large, bold, uppercase type: "RETURNED TO MANUFACTURER UNDER LEMON LAW OR OTHER PROCEEDING." The notice required under the provisions of this subsection must continue to appear on each title issued as a result of any subsequent sale or transfer of that motor vehicle.
(B) Any person who transfers or attempts to transfer a motor vehicle in violation of this section is subject to a fine of not less than five hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars if the person had knowledge that the motor vehicle was returned to the manufacturer for failure to meet express warranties under a "lemon law" or other similar proceeding.
SECURED INTERESTS AND OTHER LIENS
Chapter inapplicable to certain liens and security interests.
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, if such lien is recorded on the title;
(3) A security interest in a vehicle created by a manufacturer or dealer who holds the vehicle for sale; or
(4) Attachment liens provided for in Section 29-15-20.
Security interest invalid against third parties unless properly perfected.
Unless excepted by Section 56-19-610, 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 article. No other recordation shall be necessary to protect the interest of the lienholder.
Perfecting security interest; time when effective.
A security interest is perfected by the delivery to the Department 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 security agreement and the required fee. It is perfected as of the time of its creation if the delivery is completed within ten days thereafter, otherwise, as of the time of the delivery.
Procedure when owner creates security interest.
If an owner creates a security interest in a vehicle:
(1) The owner immediately shall execute the application, in the space provided for on the certificate of title or on a separate form the department prescribes, to name the lienholder on the certificate, showing the name and address of the lienholder and the date of his security agreement, and cause the certificate, application, and the required fee to be delivered to the lienholder.
(2) The lienholder immediately shall cause the certificate, application, and the required fee to be mailed or delivered to the department.
(3) If the certificate of title is in the possession of a lienholder and a supplemental lien is created by the owner, the subsequent lienholder shall secure the title from the first lienholder and forward to the department the required application and the title for perfecting the lien, together with the required fee. The department when satisfied that the application is in order shall issue a new certificate of title containing the name and address of the new lienholder and mail the certificate to the first lienholder named on it. The delivery of the certificate does not affect the rights of the first lienholder under his security agreement.
Filing notices of security interests; record thereof.
The Department shall file each notice of security interest received by it with the required fee and maintain a record of all notices of security interests filed by it.
Assignment of security interest; perfection; filing.
A lienholder may assign, absolutely or otherwise, his 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 an assignment by the lienholder is delivered to the Department as provided in this section.
The assignee may, but need not, to perfect the assignment, deliver to the department an assignment by the lienholder in the form the department prescribes with the required fee.
The Department shall file each assignment received by it with the required fee and note the assignee as lienholder upon the record of security interests maintained by the Department pursuant to Section 56-19-660.
Satisfaction of security interest for which certificate is in possession of lienholder; filing release.
(1) Upon the satisfaction of a security interest in a vehicle for which the certificate of title is in the possession of the lienholder, he shall, within ten days after demand and, in any event, within thirty days, execute a release of his security interest, in the space provided therefor on the certificate or as the Department prescribes, and mail or deliver the certificate and release to the Department which shall file the release and note it upon the record of security interest maintained by the Department pursuant to Section 56-19-660. The Department shall then mail the certificate to the next lienholder or if no other lienholder, then to the owner. No charge shall be made by the lienholder for executing such release.
(2) Upon the satisfaction of a security interest in a vehicle for which the certificate of title is in the possession of a prior lienholder, the lienholder whose security interest is satisfied shall within ten days after demand, and, in any event, within thirty days execute a release in duplicate in the form the Department prescribes and deliver or mail a copy to the owner and a copy to the Department for notation upon the record of security interests maintained by the Department pursuant to Section 56-19-660.
(3) Upon failure of the lienholder to forward the certificate to the Department as required by this article he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars or be imprisoned for not more than thirty days.
Security interests in previously registered vehicles not needing certificates unaffected.
This chapter shall in no wise affect or impair any chattel mortgage, lien or other security interest in a previously registered vehicle for which no certificate of title or application for a certificate of title is required under this chapter.
Continuation of security interests previously perfected under other laws.
If a security interest in a previously registered vehicle was perfected under any other applicable law of this State on January 1, 1958, the security interest shall continue perfected until its perfection lapses under the law under which it was perfected or would lapse in the absence of a further recording or until the earlier lapse of two years and nine months from January 1, 1958 and thereafter, if previously perfected under this article.
Sale or security interest not created by terminal rental adjustment clause in motor vehicle or trailer lease.
Notwithstanding another provision of law, a transaction involving a motor vehicle or trailer does not create a sale or security interest merely because the agreement contains a terminal rental adjustment clause which provides that the rental price may be or must be adjusted either upward or downward by reference to the amount realized upon sale or other disposition of the motor vehicle or trailer.
STOLEN, CONVERTED OR UNCLAIMED VEHICLES
Peace officers shall report theft or recovery of vehicles.
A peace officer who learns of the theft of a vehicle not since recovered or of the recovery of a vehicle whose theft or conversion he knows or has reason to believe has been reported to the Department shall forthwith report the theft or recovery to the Department.
Owners of lienholders may report thefts or conversions; Department may disregard report; recovery shall be reported.
An owner or a lienholder may report the theft of a vehicle, or its conversion if a crime, to the Department, but the Department 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 Department.
Liability of officer or agency for acting on false theft report.
No peace officer or government agency shall be criminally or civilly liable for any act done in good faith as a result of a false report of the theft of a vehicle if no liability would have resulted from such act had the report been true.
Unclaimed vehicles in garages and certain other places shall be reported; loss of storage lien for failure to report.
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 thirty days shall, within five days after the expiration of that period, report the vehicle as unclaimed to the Department. Such report shall be on a form prescribed by the Department.
A vehicle left by its owner whose name and address are known to the operator or his employee is not considered "unclaimed." A person who fails to report a vehicle as unclaimed in accordance with this section forfeits all claims and liens for its garaging, parking or storing.
Records of reports of stolen, converted, recovered and unclaimed vehicles; distribution of lists.
The Department shall maintain and appropriately index cumulative public records of stolen, converted, recovered and unclaimed vehicles reported to it pursuant to this article. The Department may make and distribute weekly lists of such vehicles so reported to it to peace officers.