San Diego Notary

Amendments and New Laws Effective January 1, 2008

The following bills take effect January 1, 2008: Assembly Bill 886 (Chapter 399, Statutes of 2007) makes a number of significant changes to current notarial law, including:
  • The identity of the person making an acknowledgment no longer may be established by personal knowledge alone. The identity of the person making the acknowledgment must be established by specified documents, or by a credible witness who is personally known to the notary public and who has proven their identity with specified documents. Violation of this 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 in superior court. (Civil Code section 1185)
  • The certificate of acknowledgment now is executed under penalty of perjury. (Civil Code section 1189)
  • 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. (Government Code section 6203)
  • In addition to the background check by the Department of Justice, notary public applicants’ fingerprints will be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for purposes of a background check. (Government Code section 8201.1)
  • Along with the notary public application form, the applicant must submit a photograph of himself or herself to the Secretary of State. (Government Code section 8201.5)
  • “Personal knowledge” alone is no longer allowed to establish the identity of the affi ant when executing a jurat. The “satisfactory evidence” provisions for executing a jurat are consistent with the requirements for acknowledgments. (Government Code section 8202)
  • The notary public journal must contain a notation that the identity of the person making an acknowledgment, or taking an oath or affirmation is based on “satisfactory evidence” and not “personal knowledge.” (Government Code section 8206)
  • A power of attorney document is added to the list of notarized documents that require a thumbprint. (Government Code section 8206)
  • 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 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. (Government Code section 8206)
  • Willful failure to notify the Secretary of State of an address change or name change is punishable as an infraction by a fine of up to $500. (Government Code sections 8213.5 and 8213.6)
  • New grounds for denial of an application or revocation or suspension have been added for crimes connected to notarial acts: making a certificate or writing containing statements known to be false, fraud relating to a deed of trust, improper notarial acts, unlawfully acting as a notary public, filing false or forged documents, forgery, grand theft, and falsely obtaining personal information. (Government Code section 8214.1)
  • Willful failure to report the theft or loss of a journal, along with failure to provide access to a journal when requested by a peace officer, are now grounds for revocation or suspension. (Government Code section 8214.1)
  • Willful failure of a notary public to provide a peace officer with a journal when requested, subjects a notary public to a civil penalty up to $2,500. Either the Secretary of State or a public prosecutor may seek this penalty. (Government Code section 8214.21)
  • Willful failure of a notary to obtain a thumbprint as required under Government Code section 6 8206, subjects a notary public 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. (Government Code section 8214.23)
  • A four-year statute of limitations has been added to several other offenses: Willfully destroying, defacing, or concealing records belonging to a notary public; the misdemeanor crime of soliciting, coercing, or influencing a notary public to perform an improper notarial act; and 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 control. (Government Code sections 8221, 8225 and 8228.l) Assembly Bill 434 (Chapter 496, Statutes of 2007) adds a new section to current law:
  • A notary public must respond within 15 days from the receipt of a request by a member of the public for a line item from the notary public’s journal. The notary public must supply either a photostatic copy of the line item or acknowledge that no such line item exists. In a disciplinary proceeding, a notary public may defend his or her delayed action on the basis of unavoidable, exigent business or personal circumstances. (Government Code section 8206.5)

Links: