California Secretary of State’s Disciplinary Actions & Guidelines for Notaries Public



California Secretary of State’s Disciplinary Actions & Guidelines for Notaries Public

November 9, 2023

In California, notaries public are commissioned and appointed by the Secretary of State. Notaries public have certain responsibilities that are specified by the Law of California. Their duties include verifying the identity of signatories on legal documents, notarizing documents for apostilles, performing livescan fingerprinting, and offering more services to make money as a notary public. Therefore, notaries public are required to follow certain rules and regulations. Failure to do so can result in disciplinary action.

Disciplinary guidelines for notaries public in California are published by the Secretary of State. To learn about them in detail, download the document entitled Notary Public Disciplinary Guidelines 2012. In accordance with the guidelines, notaries public can be subject to disciplinary action for a variety of reasons.


Reasons for disciplinary actions against a notary public

– Failing to properly identify a signer

– Failing to keep accurate and complete records

– Engaging in fraudulent or dishonest conduct

– Providing false information to the Secretary of State

– Violating any provisions of the California Government Code or any other applicable law, like notarizing via remote online notarization or RON that is NOT implemented in California.

Types of disciplinary actions that can be taken against notaries public in California

– Revocation or suspension of the notary public commission

– Imposition of fines or penalties

– Referral to law enforcement for criminal prosecution

– Referral to other agencies for administrative action


The severity of the disciplinary action will depend on the nature and severity of the violation. In some cases, a notary public may be given the opportunity to remedy the violation before disciplinary action is taken.
If your notary public commission gets suspended you will be required to retake the mandatory 6-hour notary course and pass the California notary exam. In such a case, it is important to find a state-approved notary course vendor to complete the requirements for the examination and renew your notary commission.

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