New Jersey Law Imposes Stiff Penalties For Unauthorized Practice Of Law

As part of a continuing national effort against fraud targeting immigrants, the New Jersey General Assembly has enacted a new law that increases penalties — including lengthy prison sentences — for individuals convicted of knowingly engaging in the unauthorized practice of law (UPL).

The new law, which went into effect last week, has serious implications for Notaries who overstep their ministerial duties. Individuals could be sentenced to up to 18 months in prison for knowingly engaging in UPL, and nonlawyers who create the impression that they are licensed attorneys, charge for legal services or cause harm to others through their actions face up to five years in prison. Notaries convicted of these offenses also lose their ability to be reappointed as a Notary.

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