Notary Bulletin

New Disciplinary Guidelines Go Beyond Notaries

Law enforcement officials across the country are going after managers who pressure Notary-employees to perform illegal acts — as seen in the recent multi-state charges against former document service executive Lorraine Brown — and the largest state in the nation has posted a clear warning to supervisors that cutting notarial corners is a crime, even if they are not Notaries.

California revised its disciplinary guidelines for Notary misconduct last month, and the updated guidelines are now available in PDF format at the Secretary of State’s website. Page 29 of the revised guidelines states, “Any person who solicits, coerces, or in any manner influences a notary public to perform an improper notarial act knowing the act is improper, including any act required of a notary public in connection with the notary journal, is guilty of a misdemeanor. (Government Code section 8225(a).)”

The guidelines address several areas of Notary misconduct such as knowingly notarizing a fraudulent real estate document, and offering unauthorized immigration advice. It also lists examples of crimes of “moral turpitude” that can disqualify a person from receiving a Notary commission.

Sharing the guidelines with employers and co-workers could help avoid illegal notarization requests. Should you have any questions regarding state Notary law, the NNA’s Notary Hotline counselors are available to answer questions by phone at 888-876-0827 and by e-mail at

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions.

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