People going into the notary business should be aware that there is such a thing as Notary Fines, and Notary Penalties are real! I used to be a California Notary Public and read the California Notary Handbook multiple times. There are all types of penalties that could be imposed on a sloppy notary. I could go one by one and list all of the fines and penalties in the handbook, or just write about some more common types of mistakes that notaries make that could end up in a Notary fine. Please remember, that the types of infractions of notary law we are indicating below may or may not end up in a fine in your particular state. However, to be on the safe side, we encourage you to avoid any type of legal infraction whatsoever so you stay out of trouble.
If you move…
If you change your physical address, and don’t notify your state notary division within 30 days, or however many days your state allows (which is often 30 days), you might end up in a little bit of trouble. You might get fined for this type of neglegence. The Secretary of State or Notary Division in your state wants to know where you are living — that is important to them!
If you change your name…
If you change your legal name, you are required to inform your Notary Division in writing in many states. You might be required to get new notary commission, or just get a new notary seal that reflects your new name. A California notary for instance is required to notify the notary division immediately after a name change!
If you overcharge…
If you charge more than your state’s maximum published rates for a notary act, you could get fined for overcharging. It is doubtful that you would get caught, but to be on the safe side, don’t charge more than the amount your state allows for notary acts. You may charge for travel fee in 41 states, but you need to know what the rules are for travel fees too as there are restrictions in a few states. If you are a California Notary there is no limit to what you can charge as a travel fee.
If you put a wrong date on a notary certificate
If you intentionally put a false date on a notary certificate, you might get a lot more than just a simple notary fine or notary penalty. You might be criminally liable, especially if the notary certificate is on a Deed effecting real property. Don’t backdate! It is illegal and can come back to you!
A California Notary Public could have their notary commission suspended, revoked, or terminated if they made a misstatement in their application. Tell the truth, or you could get in trouble.
We might write some more blog entries in the future about notary fines and notary penalties. But, for now, we just wanted to refresh your memory to the fact that these types of fines do exist, and let you know about a few specific types of cases where you could be fined.
Have a fine day!>