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September 1, 2013

Notary Fines relating to Advertising & Fraud

We wrote an article about Notary Fines and Notary Penalties a few weeks

Failure to discharge duties
If a notary denies their Notary services to the public or fails to keep a notary journal, they could be fined. Not all states require journals, but California takes journals seriously and there is a $750 fine if a California Notary Public is caught not filling our their journal properly or failing to do their duties as a California Notary Public. Additionally, such a person’s notary commission could be suspended, revoked or terminated for such infractions in California and perhaps other states too. Remember, you are Notary Public, not a Notary Private. You serve the public, and not just a few individuals who you are preferential to!

Advertising false authorizations
If you are a notary and claim to be authorized to help with immigration, legal, or other specialties that require special authorizations that you do not personally have, then you could be fined $1500 if you are a California Notary Public. Many other states have tight restrictions for how notaries can advertise, particularly in Spanish language publications where it is typically forbidden to advertise yourself using the Spanish term for a Notary since Notaries in Spanish speaking countries typically have rights and capabilities far beyond what an American Notary Public has. Notaries in many other countries, particularly Latin countries are at an elevated level similar to Attorneys which causes a lot of confusion to new immigrants who could be easily led to believe that American Notaries have those capabilities. Don’t receive a Notary fine for something like this. Learn your state’s Notary laws and proceed with caution!

I am not an Attorney
For California Notaries, If you advertise in a language other than English (here we go again), you must state in English and the other language that you are not an Attorney and are not authorized to give legal advice. There are similar laws for those who are a Texas Notary Public and in many other states as well. Many people ask legal questions to notaries since notaries notarize legal documents daily. Notaries should avoid drafting legal documents or making any commentary about legal issues, or even about the very documents you are notarizing. Refer your client to an Attorney if they have any question that seems remotely legal to you! Don’t become guilty of UPL — Unauthorized Practice of Law! The penalty in California is $1500 as a Notary Penalty or Notary Fine for improper advertising.

Dishonesty or Fraud
Any act of dishonesty or fraud could result in a $1500 notary fine if you are a California Notary Public. Other states also can prosecute you for fraud as well, but the penalties and proceedings might be very different than here in sunny California. It is safe to say that most states do not like the idea of fraud on the part of Notaries Public. A Notary is supposed to be a trusted state official, and fraud quickly compromises that trust! Dont’ receive a notary penalty — stay on the safe side of the law and issues involving integrity!


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