Maryland laws on notaries public can be found in Title 18 of Code of Maryland. Pursuant to Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-101, the Governor, on approval of the application by a Senator representing the senatorial district and sub district in which the resident applicant resides appoint and commission individuals as notaries public. When the senatorial office representing the senatorial district and sub district in which the applicant resides is vacant, any Senator can appoint and commission individuals as notaries public in the state of Maryland. In case of out-of-state individuals, the Governor, on approval of the application by the Secretary of State and a member of the Senate of Maryland, appoints and commissions an out-of-state individuals as notaries public[i].
Pursuant to Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-102, qualifications for appointment as a notary public are:
- a person at least 18 years of age;
- a person of good moral character and integrity;
- a person living and working in the State of Maryland; and
- a resident of the senatorial district from which appointed, in case of person living in the State.
Pursuant to Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-102, in case of an out-of-state individual, s/he must be a resident of a state allowing Maryland residents working in the state to serve as notaries public in that state.
Pursuant to the Code of Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-103, when the appointment is made by the Governor, the Secretary of State shall notify the applicant. The term of a notary public commission is four years. A notary public commissions can be renewed from term to term. The Secretary of State issues an application of renewal to the notary public at or prior to the expiration of the term of the existing commission. On receiving a satisfactory application of renewal from the notary, the Secretary issues a notice of renewal to the notary. Within thirty days after the issuance by the Secretary of State of a notice of appointment or renewal, the notary should qualify before the appropriate clerk of the court and pay the prescribed fee. The appointment and commission of a notary failing to qualify and pay the fees within the prescribed time should be revoked. On revocation the court clerk should return the commission to the Secretary of State with a certification that the notary failed to qualify and pay the fee. The Secretary of State for good cause shown can reinstate the appointment and commission[ii].
Pursuant to Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-104, a notary public can be removed or suspended from office by the Governor for good cause. After notice to the notary and the opportunity for a hearing before the Secretary of State or the Secretary of State’s designee, the Secretary of State shall submit a recommendation to the Governor for action. The Governor can delegate to the Secretary of State or the Assistant Secretary of State the authority to remove or suspend a notary from office. The Secretary of State or Assistant Secretary of State should give the notary notice and an opportunity for a hearing. However, a hearing provided is not a contested case. The notice and hearing opportunity is deemed satisfied when a letter informing the notary of the impending removal from office and hearing opportunity is mailed to the notary[iii].
Pursuant to Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-106, a notary public can receive the proof or acknowledgment of all instruments of writing relating to commerce or navigation and other writings as have been usually proved and acknowledged before notaries. Additionally, a notary public can make protests and declarations. S/he is empowered to testify to the truth of the protests and declarations under the notary’s notarial seal of office concerning all matters done by the notary in virtue of the notary’s office[iv].
Pursuant to Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-109, a notary public can exercise all functions of the office of notary in any other county or city than the county or city for which the notary is appointed.
Pursuant to Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-110, it is unlawful for a notary public to sign and issue any protest except in the form prescribed by the Comptroller.
Pursuant to Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-112, the Secretary of State should adopt regulations to establish fees, not to exceed $ 2 for an original notarial act. For repetition of an original notarial act or to make a copy of the matter addressed by that original notarial act, a notary can ask only lesser amount. Moreover, a notary public can charge 19 cents per mile, or a higher amount set by regulation of the Secretary of State, and a fee not to exceed $ 5, as compensation for travel required for the performance of a notarial act[v].
[i] Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-101.
[ii] Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-103.
[iii] Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-104.
[iv] Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-106.
[v] Md. STATE GOVERNMENTCode Ann. § 18-112.