The Secretary of State is responsible for appointing and commissioning notaries public in the State of California. In the performance of such duties, the Secretary of State strives to ensure that applicants and commissioned notaries public possess the requisite honesty, credibility, truthfulness, and integrity to fulfill the responsibilities of the position. Character is germane to the qualifications of the office of a notary public, given the nature of the duties and responsibilities. Government, business, and the public depend on the integrity of notaries public to take the required steps in authenticating signatures and properly completing transactions. The issue of good character is the foundation of all notarial acts.

The disciplinary guidelines are intended to facilitate due process and uniformity in reviewing notary public applications, investigating alleged violations of notarial law, and instituting administrative actions against notaries public and notary public applicants. The disciplinary guidelines are designed to assist administrative law judges, attorneys, notaries public, notary public applicants, and others involved in the disciplinary process. The disciplinary guidelines address only the Secretary of State's review of applications, investigations, and administrative actions and are not a comprehensive overview of the criminal and civil offenses in statute, which may subject a notary public to a civil penalty or to criminal prosecution.

The Notary Public Disciplinary Guidelines 2012 (PDF), have been revised effective November 16, 2012.

You may obtain a copy of the guidelines by writing to the Secretary of State, Notary Public & Special Filings Section. Please refer to Contact Information for the Sacramento office location and mailing address.