Southern Development Corporation
Notary Public Requirements and Responsibilities
The limitations that the law places on notaries and the possible consequences if they choose to participate in these prohibited acts.|
These actions include criminal activity and behavior that may result in the revocation of a notary’s commission. The following portions of Arkansas law detail unlawful and/or prohibited acts.
A.C.A. 21-14-111 states the following:
(a) It is unlawful for any notary public to witness any signature on any instrument unless the notary public either:
In addition to the above, it is also unlawful for any notary public to take an acknowledgment of an instrument executed by or to a bank or other corporation of which the notary is a stockholder, director, officer, or employee where the notary public is a party to the instrument, either individually or as a representative of the corporation.
(1) Witnesses the signing of the instrument and personally knows the signer or is presented proof of the identity of the signer; or
(2) Recognizes the signature of the signer by virtue of familiarity with the signature.
(b) Any notary public violating this section shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(c) For purposes of this section, "personally knows" means having an acquaintance, derived from association with the individual, which establishes the individual's identity with at least a reasonable certainty.
Arkansas law also sets out various acts that may result in the denial or revocation of a notary commission.
These offenses can be divided into two categories. Three of the offenses must be determined by a court of law while the Secretary of State can determine the other three.
These offenses are:
1) submitting false or misleading information on a notary public application;
2) being convicted of official misconduct under the provisions of A.C.A. § 21- 14-111 (see previous paragraphs);
3) knowingly using misleading advertisement which represents that the notary has powers, duties, rights, or privileges that the notary does not possess by law;
4) being found by a court of this state to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law;
5) being found by a court to have improperly notarized documents according to the law; or
6) failing to complete the requirements of the law under § 21-14-101.
Examples of these requirements include the filing of a $7,500 surety bond or contract and the signing and filing the statutorily prescribed oath.
If the Secretary of State determines the notary public's commission should be revoked, the notary will be notified of the decision. The notary public shall immediately send or have delivered to the Secretary of State:
(1) The notary public's journal of notarial acts;
(2) All other papers and copies relating to the notary's notarial acts; and
(3) The notary public's official seal.
Upon notification the notary public has the right to appeal the decision of the Secretary of State to the Pulaski County Circuit Court.