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Notary Bulletin

Without Personal Appearance, Judge Puts Brakes On DUI Cases

Notarizing documents without requiring a signer's personal appearance is a cardinal sin. But despite constant warnings about the dangers of dismissing key best practices, some Notaries still continue to put the integrity of their official acts at serious risk.

Ignoring personal appearance requirements opens the door to fraud, exposes Notaries to legal liability, puts your commission at risk and greatly reduces the trust and integrity in the document being notarized. Lack of personal appearance can also have dire consequences for the public in legal proceedings. In fact, a Georgia judge recently ordered that 15 people facing DUI charges keep their driver's licenses - at least for the time being - because legal documents in their cases were notarized outside the presence of the signers.

All Notaries must realize that a faulty notarization can have serious consequences. It can open the door to fraud, disrupt the legal process or potentially put the public at risk by allowing dangerous drivers to stay behind the wheel. Increasingly, Notaries are finding that even one improperly handled notarization - no matter how innocent it may seem - can land you on the wrong side of a lawsuit, or even lead to criminal charges. And personal appearance is arguably the most violated essential best practice, putting countless transactions at serious risk.

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