NEW LAWS AFFECTING NOTARIES PUBLIC EFFECTIVE JANUARY
Assembly Bill 886 (Chapter 399, Statutes of 2007) and Assembly Bill 434 (Chapter
496, Statutes of 2007) make a number of significant changes in notarial law.
The text of the new laws can be found at:
The new laws take effect January 1, 2008.
The primary changes provided by AB 886 effective January 1, 2008 are as follows:
1. Civil Code section 1185 Acknowledgment; requisites. The identity
of the person making an acknowledgment may no longer be established by personal
knowledge alone. Under the new law, the identity of the person making the
acknowledgment must be established by specified documents or a credible witness
who is personally known to the notary public and proves their identity by
specified documents. Violation of the section subjects a notary public to
a civil penalty of up to $10,000 in an administrative action brought by the
Secretary of State or a public prosecutor.
2. Civil Code section 1189 Certificate of Acknowledgment. The certificate
of acknowledgment is now executed under penalty of perjury. A notary public
who willfully states as true any material fact known to be false can be subject
to a civil penalty of up to $10,000.
Order for the New 2008 Edition Certificate of Acknowledgment Here
3. Government Code section 6203 Criminal offense. A four-year statute
of limitations is added to the misdemeanor crime of a notary public who makes
and delivers as true any certificate or writing that contains statements
known to be false.
4. Government Code section 8201.1 Additional qualifications; fingerprints.
Notary public applicants shall submit fingerprints to the Department of Justice
for the purpose of a background check. Under the new law, the fingerprints
will also be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secretary
of State will be informed of any results as well as any subsequent arrests.
5. Government Code section 8201.5 Application form. A notary public
applicant must submit a photograph of himself/herself to the Secretary of
State along with the application.
6. Government Code section 8202 Execution of jurat. The identity of
the affiant may no longer be established by personal knowledge alone.
Personal knowledge as a basis for identifying the affiant when
executing a jurat has been deleted. Satisfactory evidence must
be used to identify an affiant in accordance with Civil Code section 1185
7. Government Code section 8206 Sequential journal. A statement about
the identity of a person making an acknowledgment, or taking an oath or
affirmation must be based on satisfactory evidence in conformity
with Civil Code section 1185 (see above). Also, a power of attorney is added
to the list of notarized documents that require a thumbprint. Further, when
requested by a peace officer investigating a criminal offense, a notary public
must surrender his or her journal immediately or as soon as possible if the
journal is not present. The peace officer must have probable cause to believe
the journal contains evidence of a criminal offense. The peace officer who
seizes a journal must notify the Secretary of State within 24 hours or as
soon as possible of the name of the notary public whose journal was seized.
8. Government Code section 8213.5 Change in location. A notary public
may not use a commercial mail receiving agency or post office box as his
or her principal place of business or residence unless the notary public
provides the Secretary of State with a physical street address as the principal
place of residence. Willful failure to notify the Secretary of State of a
change of address is now punishable as an infraction by a fine of up to $500.
9. Government Code section 8213.6 Name changes; application; filing.
Willful failure to notify the Secretary of State of a name change is now
punishable as an infraction by a fine of up to $500.
10. Government Code section 8214.1 Grounds for refusal. Willful failure
to report the theft or loss of a journal is now expressly stated as grounds
for revocation or suspension of a notary public. New grounds for denial of
an application or revocation or suspension have been added for crimes connected
to notarial acts: making a false writing, fraud relating to a deed of trust,
improper notarial acts, unlawfully acting as a notary public, filing false
or forged documents, forgery, embezzlement, and falsely obtaining personal
information. Also, willful failure to provide access to a journal when requested
by a police officer is now grounds for revocation or suspension.
11. Government Code section 8214.2 Fraud deed of trust. In addition
to being guilty of a felony, a notary public who defrauds in relation to
a deed of trust on real property single-family residence by means of forgery
may be subject to other relief or remedies provided to the parties by law.
12. Government Code section 8214.15 Civil penalties. Willful violation
of subdivision (d) of Section 8214.1 (failure to discharge the duties or
responsibilities of a notary public) is deleted.
13. Government Code section 8214.21 (New Section) Failure to provide
journal, penalty. Willful failure of a notary public to provide a peace officer
with a journal when requested is punishable by a civil penalty of up to $2,500.
The Secretary of State or a public prosecutor may seek such a penalty.
14. Government Code section 8214.23 (New Section) Failure to obtain
thumbprint, penalty. A notary public who fails to obtain a thumbprint as
required by Government Code section 8206 is subject to a civil penalty up
to $2,500. Either the Secretary of State or a public prosecutor may seek
this penalty. There is a four-year statute of limitations for this offense.
15. Government Code section 8221 Destruction, defacement, concealment
of records. Willfully destroying, defacing, or concealing records belonging
to a notary public now has a four-year statute of limitations. The criminal
penalty is not the exclusive relief or remedy provided by law.
16. Government Code section 8225 Improper notarial acts. The misdemeanor
crime of soliciting, coercing, or influencing a notary public to perform
an improper notarial act, knowing it to be improper, now has a four-year
statute of limitations.
17. Government Code section 8228 Enforcement of chapter. In addition
to the Secretary of State, a peace officer, acting within his or her authority
may also enforce this Chapter 3 of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government
Code relating to notaries public by examining a notary publics pertinent
18. Government Code section 8228.1 Willful failure to control seal.
A four-year statute of limitations is added to the misdemeanor crime of a
notary public willfully failing to perform his or her required duties or
failing to keep the notary public seal under his or her direct and exclusive
The primary change provided by AB 434 effective January 1, 2008 is:
Government Code section 8206.5 (New Section) Response time for a request.
A notary public must respond to a request for a transaction in the notary
public journal within 15 business days after the receipt of the request and
must supply either a photostatic copy of the line item or acknowledge that
no such line item exists. In a disciplinary proceeding for failing to comply
with this section, the notary public may raise a defense of unavoidable,
exigent business or personal circumstances.
New Laws as of January 1, 2009 - Assembly Bill
SACRAMENTO, CA Assemblyman Mike Davis announced today (July 3, 2008)
that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed AB 2452 (Davis) which addresses
criminal and negligent behavior by notaries public that contribute to the
problem of real estate fraud.
Notaries public are the bedrock of the real estate industry because they
verify identification on grant deeds, deeds of trust, and other documents
necessary for the transfer of real estate. We can not allow the criminal
or negligent behavior of a growing minority of notaries public to threaten
the credibility of our notaries, stated Assemblyman Mike Davis. We
must protect consumers when they are seeking to purchase or transfer property
and also the integrity of these transactions. If notaries public appropriately
verify identification, we will have more accountability from individuals
involved in home loan transactions, Assemblyman Mike Davis revealed.
AB 2452 will require notary publics to
verify the identification of everyone who presents documents that would change
title to real property in California. This measure would add specified
governmental employee identification cards as allowable forms of identification,
including, cards issued by federal, state, county or municipal agencies...
AB 2452 does not amend the statutory
notarial certificate wording for a proof of execution of subscribing witness.
The wording of the certificate still the same as the previous version.