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District of Columbia Laws on Notaries Public

District of Columbia laws on notaries public can be found in Chapter 12, Title 1 of District of Columbia code.  Pursuant to D.C. Code § 1-1201, the Mayor of the District of Columbia shall have power to appoint such number of notaries public, residents of said District, or whose sole place of business or employment is located within said District, as, in his or her discretion, the business of the District may require.  However, the appointment of any person as such notary public, or the acceptance of his or her commission as such, or the performance of the duties thereunder, shall not disqualify or prevent such person from representing clients before any of the departments of the United States government in the District of Columbia or elsewhere.  Moreover, such person so appointed as a notary public who appears to practice or represent clients before any such department is not otherwise engaged in government employ, and shall be admitted by the heads of such departments to practice therein in accordance with the rules and regulations prescribed for other persons or attorneys who are admitted to practice therein.  Furthermore, no notary public shall be authorized to take acknowledgments, administer oaths, certify papers, or perform any official acts in connection with matters in which s/he is employed as counsel, attorney, or agent, or in which s/he may be in any way interested before any of the departments aforesaid[i].

Each notary public before obtaining his or her commission, and for each renewal thereof, shall pay to the Director of the Department of Finance and Revenue of the District of Columbia a license fee of $ 30.  However, no license fee shall be collected from any notary public in the service of the United States government or the District of Columbia government whose notarial duties are confined solely to government official business[ii].  Notaries public shall hold their offices for the period of 5 years, removable at discretion[iii].

Pursuant to D.C. Code § 1-1203, each notary public, before entering upon the duties of his or her office, shall take the oath prescribed for civil officers in the District of Columbia, and shall give bond to the District of Columbia in the sum of $ 2,000, with security, to be approved by the Mayor of the District of Columbia or his designated agent, for the faithful discharge of the duties of his office.

Each notary public shall provide a notarial seal with which s/he shall authenticate all his or her official acts[iv].

Pursuant to D.C. Code § 1-1205, each notary public shall file his or her signature and deposit an impression of his or her official seal with the Mayor of the District of Columbia or designated agent, and the Mayor or designated agent may certify to the authenticity of the signature and official seal of the notary public.  A notary’s official seal and his official documents shall be exempt from execution[v].

Pursuant to D.C. Code § 1-1207, notaries public shall have authority to demand acceptance and payment of foreign bills of exchange and to protest the same for nonacceptance and nonpayment, and to exercise such other powers and duties as by the law of nations and according to commercial usages notaries public may do.

Pursuant to D.C. Code § 1-1208, notaries public may also demand acceptance of inland bills of exchange and payment thereof, and of promissory notes and checks, and may protest the same for nonacceptance or nonpayment, as the case may require.   And on the original protest thereof s/he shall state the presentment by him or her of the same for acceptance or payment, as the case may be, and the nonacceptance or nonpayment thereof, and the service of notice thereof on any of the parties to the same, and the mode of giving such notice, and the reputed place of business or residence of the party to whom the same was given; and such protest shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated.  And any notary public failing to comply shall pay a fine of $ 10 to the District of Columbia, to be collected in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia as are other fines and penalties.

Pursuant to D.C. Code § 1-1209, notaries public may also perform such other acts, for use and effect beyond the jurisdiction of the District, as according to the law of any state or territory of the United States or any foreign government in amity with the United States may be performed by notaries public.

Pursuant to D.C. Code § 1-1210, each notary public shall have power to take and to certify the acknowledgment or proof of powers of attorney, mortgages, deeds, and other instruments of writing, to take depositions and to administer oaths and affirmations and also to take affidavits to be used before any court, judge, or officer within the District.

Pursuant to D.C. Code § 1-1213, the Mayor of the District of Columbia shall adjust from time to time the schedule of fees to be charged by notaries public.  The Mayor shall adjust the schedule by rule to provide fees in amounts which, in the Mayor’s judgment, will defray the notary public’s necessary expenses in connection with performing his services.  Until the schedule of fees is adjusted by the Mayor, the fees of notaries public shall be:

1) For taking an acknowledgement of proof of a deed or other instrument including the seal and writing of the certificate, $ 2 for each signature;
2) For administering an oath or for taking an affidavit, including the jurat and seal, $ 2; or
3) For any other notarial act, $ 2.

Pursuant to D.C. Code § 1-1214, any notary public who shall take a higher fee than is prescribed by § 1-1213 shall pay a fine of $ 100 and be removed from office by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

[i] D.C. Code § 1-1201.

[ii] D.C. Code § 1-1201.

[iii] D.C. Code § 1-1202.

[iv] D.C. Code § 1-1204.

[v] D.C. Code § 1-1206.

Inside District of Columbia Laws on Notaries Public