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Notaries Earn Extra Income Serving As A Remote Testimony Witness

Notaries can increase their earning potential by witnessing court-mandated telephone hearings.

As mobile Notaries look to expand their business offerings, more and more are discovering that witnessing court-mandated telephone hearings for non-criminal cases can be a lucrative service.

“Over the past year, I’ve received many requests to witness court-mandated telephone hearings,” said Florida Notary Herbert Guinup, who witnesses mostly child custody and support cases. For this service, Guinup charges a flat fee of $30 for the first hour, and $20 for every half hour after that.

Many small claims court judges are permitting testimony over the phone if a witness cannot be present for a variety of reasons, such as illness or disability, being out of state, or unable to take time from work. Some courts are requiring individuals to seek Notaries or other public officials in order to properly identify and swear them in for court proceedings.

How Do Telephone Depositions Work?
 

The process varies depending on the rules of your state, the court or circumstance. But generally the court sets up a conference call, which begins by having the Notary identify the individual providing testimony. The Notary may be asked to remain on the line with the individual throughout their testimony, serving as a witness.

In Florida, for example, Notaries are permitted to administer an oath or affirmation and confirm the identity of a witness for testimonies taken by telephone. State law requires the Notary to be physically present with the witness to administer the oath (oaths administered over the telephone with the Notary in one location and the oath-taker in another are not allowed). A Florida Notary also must file written certification with the presiding court officer confirming the identity of the witness and that the affirmation or oath was administered.

Florida law allows Notaries to charge $10 per notarial act, in this case to administer the oath. Since Florida law does not stipulate fees for witnessing the testimony, Notaries may set their own fees for this additional service. On top of that, a travel fee may be charged.

Florida also provides the basic language a Notary should use when administering the oath or affirmation of a witness.

Currently, there are 32 states that do not have any rules or regulations about telephone depositions, according to the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). But that does not necessarily mean they cannot take place in those states.

In those states, the NCRA strongly recommends that the witness be “sworn in by a duly authorized oathgiver who was in the presence of the witness.” A Notary would certainly fit that description.

Contact the NCRA to find out if your state has rules for telephone depositions.

Be Prepared
 

Notaries are the ideal candidates for this role because they are state-appointed public officials whose duty is to serve as impartial witnesses to any number of transactions. Identifying signers and administering oaths and affirmations are also part of their duties.

If you are asked to take part in a telephone deposition, here are a few tips for making sure it goes smoothly:

  • Be clear on the exact nature of the services you are being asked to perform. Law in most states allows Notaries to administer an oath for a deposition. However, some states, such as Nevada, have repealed the authority of a Notary to “take” the deposition — that is, recording the testimony and transcribing it — or require a Notary to have additional credentials.
  • Always have your Notary commission information with you, as it is likely to be requested by the court.
  • Follow all state Notary laws or guidelines when it comes to properly identifying the witness.
  • If you are required to administer an oath or affirmation, be sure the language you use complies with your state’s requirements, and that the witness replies aloud so their responses can be properly recorded.
  • Know the fees state law allows you to charge for taking part in a deposition and when you can charge additional fees for ancillary services not specifically prescribed by law. Most states have maximum fees you may charge for administering an oath, but not for services such as “witnessing” the testimony and travel fees.

Related Articles:

I-9 Forms: What Notaries Need To Know

Alternate Income Opportunity: Mobile Exam Proctors

Grow Your Business: Serving Court Documents

 

22 Comments

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trevor_battieste@yahoo.com

01 Nov 2015

Thanks for this information. Will follow up to see how we can become more involved as "Remote Testimonial Witnesses". Notary Public of Dallas http://www.northtexasmobilenotaryservice.com/

Diana Lange

02 Nov 2015

How do I become a remote witness? Diana Lange

Linda Hubbell

05 Nov 2015

In my experience, all I've ever had to do was meet with the person, identify them, wait for the phone call to be connected, swear them in, then leave. Instructions on where to send my certificate were given to me by the hiring party (usually an attorney). I've never had to stay for the entire testimony and not sure I would care to since it's none of my business. Further, if a deposition, it could go for hours, taking me away from other business. I see no need to sit through a hearing or a deposition on matters that do not involve me - once I swear them in my duties are done.

Christine Golder

10 Nov 2015

I have the same question as Diana. How do you become a remote witness? Whom should you contact?

Nyomi Easley

07 Feb 2016

How do i become a remote Witness, and whom do I contact in Philadelphia Pa.

Susan Clark

01 Aug 2016

Becoming a remote testimony witness

Jerry Lucas

27 Aug 2016

I have sworn in witnesses for telephone hearings for several states. I verify ID and administer the oath while the judge/magistrate listens, then I am dismissed. They may ask for my notary ID number. Colorado notaries are authorized to take depositions, but it is not taught in notary training because it is usually done by a trained court reporter that knows shorthand and creates a transcript. I have had a few instances where they want me to only verify ID, but not administer an oath or perform any notary act. In that case, I am acting as an ID verification agent, not as a notary.

Jose A Garcia

30 Aug 2016

Hello, everyone. Is there a website for the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas to register as a mobile notary. Thanks

RT Stokes

22 Sep 2016

Are California notaries allowed to take witness testimonies and/or oaths over the phone? If so, how much can we charge for this?

National Notary Association

22 Sep 2016

Hello. California does not provide laws, court rules or guidelines regarding telephone depositions. Any oath or affirmation administered by a California Notary must be done in the physical presence of the person taking the oath or affirmation. As stated in the article, even in Florida, where Notaries are permitted to administer an oath or affirmation and confirm the identity of a witness for testimonies taken by telephone, state law requires the Notary to be physically present with the witness to administer the oath. Oaths administered over the telephone with the Notary in one location and the oath-taker in another are not allowed.

Nichole Hollins

21 Feb 2017

What are the requirements in Alabama for Becoming a remote testimony witness

Elizabeth

24 Feb 2017

In the state of California where can I sign up to be a remote testimony witness?

National Notary Association

01 Mar 2017

Hello. You may wish to contact attorneys and law firms in your area to find out if they are looking for persons who can perform these services.

Grover D Daniels

17 Jan 2018

I would like to serve as a Remote Testimony Witness, Now can I get started?

maria@newcityre.com

22 Apr 2018

How do I become a remote notary witness in Washington State

National Notary Association

23 Apr 2018

Hello. We would suggest contacting the National Court Reporters Association to ask if they have information on opportunities in Washington state. Their number is 1-800-272-6272 and website is www.ncra.org.

Virginia

22 May 2018

I recently preformed this service in SC for a FL divorce hearing..The court had the following requirements: No later than the day prior to the hearing, the Notary Public must fax to the Judge's office proof of his/her Notary credentials and said fax must contain identifying information regarding this case number, names of parties, and date of hearing. No later than the day prior to the hearing, the Notary Public must fax to the Judge's office proof of his/her Notary credentials and said fax must contain identifying information regarding this case number, names of parties, and date of hearing The next day I met with customer prior to the hearing time to verify ID, she then called the conference call number and was on hold a few minutes ("As the judge is hearing multiple cases on the docket he may be delayed in joining the call by a few minutes"). Once the judge joined the call she asked if & how I'd verified customer's ID and then asked me to administer oath.

R. Paul Nunemann

29 May 2018

I would like info on the Remote Testimony Witness for texas. Where do I start?

LESLIE A FERRER SR

03 Dec 2018

Does Mississippi allow Remote Testimony Witnessing?

National Notary Association

03 Dec 2018

Hello. We would recommend contacting the National Court Reporters Association at 1-800-272-6272 to ask about Mississippi's rules regarding remote testimony witnesses.

Tony Macias

01 Apr 2019

Where/how do I go to get training to become a mobile notary? I live in Mesa, Arizona.

National Notary Association

03 Apr 2019

Hello. Are you referring to offering general Notary services as a mobile Notary, or working as a Notary Signing Agent with loan document signings?

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