Can a Felon Become a Notary?


Can a felon become a notary?

(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our website, RealEstateCareerHQ.com, will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

I have read through the Notary Public Handbook and Statutes Laws of many states. I understand that each State Office has a standard procedure to ensure the notary applicant is a trustworthy professional.

After all, notaries could be handling many important documents regularly – for example, POA, Wills, mortgage loan documents, and this paperwork often has a significant impact on individuals.

Can a felon become a notary? Yes, it is possible for a felon to become a notary. The Secretary of State will consider the nature, severity of the conviction and review each Notary Public Application on a case-by-case basis. The decision is subjected to their discretion and the State Notary Laws.

In this post, you will find the common procedures needed when applying for a notary commission with a felony record. What type of questions will be asked? What kind of documents do you need to provide?

I will also go over some important considerations, helpful ideas when applying for your notary commission and a comprehensive table that summarizes the qualification rules for applicants with a felony record in each state.

Before we start, I want to give a brief disclaimer that this is for general understanding only, and not intend to provide any legal advice. You should always refer to the Secretary of State’s Office and Notary Laws in your state. 

Would you like to learn how to make $75 to $200 per signing appointment? Check out this loan signing training program from Mark Wills. (**) He is one of the highest producing notary loan signing agents in the country.

Can you be a notary with a criminal record?

The State Offices could be more lenient when the conviction is a misdemeanor, a minor disciplinary action or a violation that posed little harm to the public. (i.e., minor traffic violations, parking tickets)

However, they all greatly concern about crimes that involve dishonesty, fraud, or moral turpitude. 

So what is moral turpitude? Here’s a video from a former DA:

Here is a list of felonies which may cause a Notary Public Commission application to be declined. 

Murder, rape, bribery, theft, arson, obtaining money or goods under false pretenses, perjury, forgery, embezzlement or bigamy

Quote from Mississippi Code – Rule 1.8

Burglary, conversion, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, fraud, identity theft, larceny, obtaining money under false pretenses, robbery or any other crime involving misappropriation of the identity or property of another person or entity

Quote from Nevada NRS 240.010 

Some states have more forgiving rules

Getting notary commission with a felony record

They would give a second chance to applicants. They would issue the notary commission if the applicant has received a full and complete pardon from the Governor for the crime, and their right to suffrage is restored. (That’s the right to vote.)

They would consider whether it is a youthful indiscretion that happened a long time ago and a recurrence is unlikely.

Even so, there is a period where one cannot apply for the notary commission. For example, in North Carolina, they won’t issue a commission to an applicant within ten years after release from prison, probation, or parole, whichever is later.

On the other hand, some states rules are much more stringent

They merely reject an applicant who convicted a felony, regardless of when it happened.

Some states also will not issue a commission if any criminal charges are pending. They probably will want to know the case’s result before deciding whether you can be a notary. 

You should check with the Notary Office in your state for their eligibility rule

Each state may hold a different perspective on the severity of the conviction. But they all have a common goal to ensure that licensure has learned from their mistake and can demonstrate integrity as a notary public.

What Would Be Asked about the Conviction? 

What Would Be Asked in the Notary Public Application about the Conviction?

I went through many notary public applications of different states. They typically would require you to disclose the following:

Have you been convicted of a felony?

Have you been convicted of a crime involving fraud or dishonesty within the last 5 years?

Quote from Nebraska Initial Application for Notary Commission

If you answer “yes” to any of the felony questions, the Secretary of State’s Office would want to know more about the incident. It would help if you prepare an explanation of the following:

  • What is the nature of the felony?
  • When did it happen?
  • Is this a one-time conviction or recurring offenses?
  • Does it have anything to do with a money handling?
  • What was the penalty or sentence involved?
  • Have all sanctions been satisfied?
  • Since you complete the sentence, what steps did you take to reenter society? (i.e., rehabilitation, treatment, employment, education, volunteer)
  • Are there any pending charges?

What Documents do You Need to Provide?

The Secretary of State’s Office typically would require documentation about the conviction.

  • A written statement explaining the circumstances of each incident;
  • A copy of the charging document;
  • A copy of the Sentencing Order; (It is an official document that shows the resolution of the charges or any final judgment)
  • A certificate of Restoration of Civil Rights

Do Notaries need to go through a Background Check?

Do Notaries need to go through a Background Check?

Not every state has a mandatory requirement to go through a formal background check. So far, I only came across a handful of states which require it. (i.e., Utah).

If the Notary Office in your state does require it, then typically speaking, you would perform this with an approved vendor. There will be a background check fee, which is approximately $50 to $100.

To obtain your fingerprints, you need to visit their office location in person. You must bring along a valid government-issued photo ID. Make sure it is not expired.

You must pass a background screening to become an NNA Certified Signing Agent

Furthermore, if you would like to enhance your credential by becoming an NNA Certified Signing Agent (NNA stands for National Notary Association), you must pass the background screening process.

They would review criminal records for at least ten years and have a “Background Screening Standards.” This is an evaluation of the scoring grid, which indicates the seriousness of each felony.

If the accumulated points are greater or equal to 25, then this would lead to disqualification.

If you want to know more about being an NNA Certified Signing Agent, here’s a post for you. In there, you will find an interview I conducted with an NNA Certified Notary Signing Agent. She will share with you her thoughts and journey in obtaining the certified credential. 

What disqualifies you from being a notary?

Besides a criminal or felony record, the Secretary of State may decline an application if the applicant had a professional license suspended or revoked before. For example, the applicant used to be a notary in another state. Then their notary commission certificate was revoked due to disciplinary action.

Furthermore, if you fail to disclose the necessary info in the application or make any untrue statement, the Office may disqualify your application. 

Lastly, even after you get the notary public commission, if you commit a felon or breach the notary laws, the Secretary of State’s Office still has the right to revoke your commission.

5 Practical Tips to Apply for Notary Commission with a Felony Record

Practical Tips to Apply for Notary Commission with a Felony Record

1) Be honest, be honest, be honest

There is no right way to do the wrong thing. The Secretary of State’s Office could conduct a background check on criminal records. They will compare your responses with their investigations. If they find any mismatch which you cannot reasonably explain, they could revoke your commission application. 

Besides, even if you obtain the notary commission certificate, there could be other temptations working in this profession. You need to commit to honesty in every single notary act. I’m sure this principle will reward you in the long run. 

2) Get reference letters

Reference letter notary public commission application

Everyone could say brag about how trustworthy, but the comment is not as nearly reliable if it comes from a third-party person. If you are currently working, it is a good idea to ask your employer or supervisor for a reference letter. 

Generally speaking, the reference letter should clearly describe your work ethic and your contribution to the company. If you have done any volunteer works, you may request the coordinator for a reference letter too.

But keep in mind, if you ever write down someone as a reference, you must get their consent first. You do not want when the Notary Office call them to confirm, and they sound unprepared or offended.

In Connecticut, you need to provide a Certificate of Character. But the reference cannot come from someone related to you, and they must have known you for at least one year. 

Some people find it challenging because they were unable to get hired even after their sanction is satisfied. In that case, you should review re-entry programs in your state. They assist people with felony records to transition back into the community. JobsForFelonsHub.com has lists of re-entry programs in different regions, and you could find their link in the reference section below.

3) Get Legal Help

Get legal help to apply for notary commission with a felony record

These are legal procedures that might be useful for applicants with a felony record.

Many states have the notary law such that their applicants may apply for the notary commission if they received a full pardon from the Governor for the crime(s).

Effect of a pardon

While a presidential pardon will restore various rights lost as a result of the pardoned offense and should lessen to some extent the stigma arising from a conviction, it will not erase or expunge the record of your conviction. Therefore, even if you are granted a pardon, you must still disclose your conviction on any form where such information is required, although you may also disclose the fact that you received a pardon.

In addition, most civil disabilities attendant upon a federal felony conviction, such as loss of the right to vote and hold state public office, are imposed by state rather than federal law, and also may be removed by state action. Because the federal pardon process is exacting and may be more time-consuming than analogous state procedures, you may wish to consult with the appropriate authorities in the state of your residence regarding the procedures for restoring your state civil rights.

Quote from The United States Department of Justice – Pardon Information and Instructions.

To apply for a pardon, you need to submit a petition to the Office of the Pardon Attorney. You also must provide the reason seeking for a pardon and fulfill the five-year waiting period.

Expungement or sealing

A pardon does not “erase” the record. It simply means you received a constitutes forgiveness. On the other hand, when an expungement is granted, it will treat as if the event had never occurred.

Expungement (also called “expunction”) is a court-ordered process in which the legal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction is “sealed,” or erased in the eyes of the law. When a conviction is expunged, the process may also be referred to as “setting aside a criminal conviction…

An expungement ordinarily means that an arrest or convictions “sealed,” or erased from a person’s criminal record for most purposes. After the expungement process is complete, an arrest or a criminal conviction ordinarily does not need to be disclosed by the person who was arrested or convicted. For example, when filling out an application for a job or apartment, an applicant whose arrest or conviction has been expunged doesn’t need to disclose that arrest or conviction.

In most cases, no record of an expunged arrest or conviction will appear if a potential employer, educational institution, or other company conducts a public records inspection or background search of an individual’s criminal record.

Quote from FindLaw.com -Expungement Basics

Once again, I’m not a lawyer and not trying to give any legal advice. So you should consult your situation with a licensed attorney and the Notary Office in your state.

4) Consult the Secretary of State’s Office

Consult Secretary of State's Office for Notary Public Commission

Getting a notary commission certificate does require your time and investment. In some states, you would be required to complete a training course and pass the notary public exam. Also, the application fee in most states are non-refundable.

Before you start jumping through all the hoops, you should get an opinion from the Notary Office in your state. But don’t just talk to any random reps through the call center. I would obtain a formal opinion through writing or email.

Although the preliminary opinion does not bind their approval decision, you will at least have something in black and white. It could become useful if you ever needed to appeal the rejection.

5) Have a well-written resume and cover letter

A well-formatted resume is the first step to demonstrate your willingness to comply with the rules and laws of society. If that is a requirement from the Secretary of State, then you should put some effort into refining it.

Whereas in the cover letter, don’t merely focus on why you need the notary commission certificate. You need to think from the regulator’s perspective. If they approve an application, and the licensee causes trouble down the road, then they could be held accountable.

You must re-assure the regulator that you understand what you did wrong, and the same mistake will never recur. Also, you will respect the laws and comply with the regulatory standard. 

You should ask someone with excellent writing skills to proofread the cover letter. But make sure that is is a trustworthy person because what you wrote could be confidential. Alternatively, you may use the online proofreading tool, “Grammarly.” This is actually the tool I’m using in writing this post.

Table Summary: State Notary Laws about Applicants with a Felony Record

 Notary Laws Pertain to Applicant with a Felony RecordSource
Alabama"A person who has been convicted of a felony cannot serve as a notary public, unless such conviction was prior to holding office and he or she has received a pardon specifically restoring his or her civil and political rights."The Alabama Secretary of State’s Handbook for Notaries Public Secretary of State’s Handbook for Notaries Public
Alaska"The lieutenant governor shall deny an application for a notary public commission if the ... (3) applicant has, within 10 years before the commission is to take effect, been convicted of a felony or incarcerated in a correctional facility for a felony conviction;"AS 44.50.036. Denial of Applications
Arizona"An applicant must:...Not have a conviction for a felony unless civil rights have been restored, or a conviction for a
lesser offense involving moral turpitude or of a nature that is incompatible with the duties of a notary public."
Arizona Notary Public Reference Manual
Arkansas"Every applicant for appointment and commission as a notary public shall complete an application to be filed with the Secretary of State stating:...(4)That he or she has not been convicted of a felony"Arkansas Notary Public & eNotary Handbook
California"The Secretary of State may deny an application for the following reasons:
- Failure to disclose any conviction;
- Conviction of a felony; or
- Conviction of a disqualifying lesser offense"
California Notary Public Handbook
Colorado"A notary may not ... 2. Be convicted of a felony ever, or of a misdemeanor in the last five years involving dishonesty. (C.R.S. 24-21-523(1)(c)).

3. Have a finding against or admission of liability in any legal proceeding or disciplinary action based on fraud, dishonesty, or deceit. (C.R.S. 24-21-23(1)(d))."
Colorado Notary Handbook
Connecticut"The Secretary of the State may deny an appointment to any individual who has been convicted of a felony or a crime;"State of Connecticut Notary Public Manual
Delaware"Individuals convicted of a felony who have not had their rights restored as well as applicants convicted of a crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude are not eligible for a Delaware notary commission."Delaware Secretary of State's website - Notary Public's website - Notary Public
Florida"If ever convicted of a felony charge, you must have your civil rights restored, pursuant to Article VI, section 4(a) of the Florida Constitution.
 If ever convicted of a felony, or if ever had adjudication withheld or sentence suspended for a felony offense, you must submit the following documents:
 Written statement regarding the nature and circumstances of the charge(s);
 Copy of the court judgment and sentencing order, or a comparable court document; and
 If convicted, copy of the Certificate of Restoration of Civil Rights (or pardon). The name of this document may vary depending on the state where the conviction occurred. If the
conviction occurred in a state that does not provide a document of this nature upon the
restoration of civil rights, the applicant is responsible for providing explanation and substantial evidence as proof of the fact"
State of Florida Governor's Reference Manual for Notaries Public
Georgia"(b) The clerk of superior court may in his or her discretion deny a commission or recommission to an applicant based on any of the following grounds:
(1) The applicant's criminal history;
(2) Revocation, suspension, or restriction of any notary commission or professional license issued to the applicant by this or any other state;
(3) The commission in this or any state of any act enumerated in subsection (a) of Code Section 45-17-15, whether or not criminal penalties or commission suspension or revocation resulted; or
(4) The applicant is found by the State Bar of Georgia, a court of this state, or a court of any other state to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law."
§ 45-17-2.3. Grant or denial of commission or recommission; grounds; unauthorized practice of law of law
HawaiiTo be updated until further notice. N/A
Idaho"51-123. GROUNDS TO DENY, REVOKE, SUSPEND OR CONDITION COMMISSION OF NOTARY PUBLIC. (1) The secretary of state may deny, revoke, suspend or impose a condition on a commission as notary public for any act or omission that demonstrates the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence or reliability to act as a notary public, including:...(c) A conviction of the applicant or notary public of any felony or a crime involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit;
(d) A finding against, or admission of liability by, the applicant or notary public in any legal proceeding or disciplinary action based on the applicant’s or notary public’s fraud, dishonesty or deceit;..."
Idaho Statutes 51-123. GROUNDS TO DENY, REVOKE, SUSPEND OR CONDITION COMMISSION OF NOTARY PUBLIC.
Illinois"Every applicant for appointment and commission as a notary shall complete an application form furnished by the Secretary of State to be filed with the Secretary of State,
stating:...(i) that the applicant has not been convicted of a felony;..."
Illinois Notary Public Handbook
Indiana"e) Never have committed an act or omission that demonstrates a deficiency in competence, honesty, integrity, or reliability, including any of the following, found in Indiana Code 33-42-13:convicted of a crime which would disqualify the applicant from holding a public office in the state of Indiana, unless the individual has petitioned for and received an order of criminal history expungement under Indiana Code 35-38-9. A conviction that has been reversed, vacated, set aside or “expunged” under IC 35-38-9 would not serve to disqualify a person from holding a notary commission."Indiana Notary Public Guide
Iowa"9B.23 Grounds to deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend, or condition commission of notary public…
1 c. A conviction of the applicant or notary public of any felony or a crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit"
NOTARIAL ACTS, §9B.23
Kansas"Appointment, refusal or revocation; grounds...(2) conviction of a felony or of a lesser offense involving moral turpitude or of a nature incompatible with the duties of a notary public. A conviction after a plea of nolo contendere is deemed to be a conviction within the meaning of this subsection;..."Kansas Legislative Statute Article 1, 53-118
Kentucky"(1) The Secretary of State may deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend, or impose a condition on a commission as notary public for any act or omission that demonstrates the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence, or reliability to act as a notary public, including:...
(c) A conviction of the applicant or notary public of any felony or a crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit;
(d) A finding against, or admission of liability by, the applicant or notary public in any legal proceeding or disciplinary action based on the applicant’s or notary public’s fraud, dishonesty, or deceit;"
KRS 423.395
Louisiana" A notary public who is not an attorney may have his notarial commission and powers revoked or suspended when it is demonstrated, by clear and convincing evidence after a rule to show cause, that the notary has engaged in any of the following:... (2) A felony for which he has been convicted and no pardon has been issued..."Louisiana Laws Revised Statutes RS 35:15
Maine"If the applicant has been convicted of a crime for which imprisonment may be a penalty, the applicant is ineligible for appointment for the following reasons: awaiting sentencing, free pending the appeal of the conviction, incarcerated or under probation or parole.

Conviction of certain crimes involving dishonesty renders a person ineligible for 10 years following release, the termination of probation or if the applicant was not incarcerated, after the date of the conviction. "
Maine Notary Public Handbook and Resource Guide
Maryland"Each individual appointed as a notary public shall: ...(2) be of good moral character and integrity;..." Maryland Code § 18-102. Qualifications.
Massachusetts"(b) In the governor's discretion, an application for appointment, reappointment or renewal of a commission may be denied based on:...(ii) the applicant's conviction of an offense that resulted in a prison sentence;

(iii) the applicant's conviction of a misdemeanor offense that resulted in a sentence to probation or a fine or a conviction for a violation of paragraph (a) of subdivision (1) of section 24 of chapter 90 or subsection (a) of section 8 of chapter 90B;

(iv) the applicant's admission to sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt of any offense;

(v) a finding or admission of responsibility or liability against the applicant in a civil action based on the applicant's fraud or deceit;
"
Section 13: Qualifications; grounds for denial of application for appointment
Michigan"The secretary may appoint as a notary public an individual who applies to the secretary and meets all of the following qualifications:...(d) Has not been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or violation described in section 41"MICHIGAN LAW ON NOTARIAL ACTS 55.271
Minnesota"...The form may request personal information about the applicant, including, but not limited to, relevant civil litigation, occupational license history, and criminal background, if any. For the purposes of this section, "criminal background" includes, but is not limited to, criminal charges, arrests, indictments, pleas, and convictions..."Minnesota Statutes 359.01
Mississippi"Rule 1.8 “Felony” or “disqualifying felony” means the conviction of any of the crimes below under the laws of this state or any other state or country:


A. Murder, rape, bribery, theft, arson, obtaining money or goods under false pretenses, perjury, forgery, embezzlement or bigamy,

B. “Theft” in subsection (1) includes the following offenses: larceny, taking unlawful possession of a motor vehicle, armed robbery, robbery, receiving stolen property, extortion, felony shoplifting and timber larceny.


C. You may, however, apply for the office of Notary Public if you have been convicted of a disqualifying felony if:

1. You have received a full and complete pardon from the Governor for your crime(s) or if the Mississippi Legislature has restored your right to suffrage (right to vote), and

2. Disclose your conviction(s) in your application and provide copies of the conviction order(s) and supply a copy of the Pardon from the Governor or Act of the Legislature restoring your rights."
Mississippi Code – Rule 1.8
Missouri"According to Missouri law, the Secretary of State’s Office may deny an application based on: ...

(2) The fact that the applicant has been finally adjudicated and found guilty, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, in a criminal prosecution under the laws of any state or of the United States, of any felony or any offense involving dishonesty or moral turpitude, provided that a commission shall not be issued to the applicant within five years after such conviction or plea;

(3) A finding or admission of liability against the applicant in a civil lawsuit based on the applicant’s deceit;..."
Missouri Notary Handbook
Montana"(1) The secretary of state may deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend, or impose a condition on a commission as a notary public for any act or omission that demonstrates the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence, or reliability to act as a notary public, including:



(c) pending release from supervision, a conviction of the applicant or notary public of any felony or crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit, although conviction of a criminal offense is not a complete bar to receiving a commission if the individual’s full rights have been restored;

(d) admission by the applicant or notary public or a finding in any legal proceeding or disciplinary action of the applicant’s or notary public’s fraud, dishonesty, or deceit;"
Montana Notary Public Handbook
Nebraska"(6) No appointment shall be made if such applicant has been convicted of (a) a felony or (b) a crime involving fraud or dishonesty within the previous five years."Nebraska Revised Statutes 64-101
Nevada"The Secretary of State shall not appoint as a notary public a person:...
(c) Who, except as otherwise provided in subsection 3, has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty, guilty but mentally ill or nolo contendere to:

(1) A crime involving moral turpitude; or

(2) Burglary, conversion, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, fraud, identity theft, larceny, obtaining money under false pretenses, robbery or any other crime involving misappropriation of the identity or property of another person or entity,"
NRS 240.010 
New Hampshire"The applicant shall sign a written statement under oath as to whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime that has not been annulled by a court, other than minor traffic violations."Notaries Public and Commissioners Section 455:2
 New Jersey"The State Treasurer may not appoint any person who has been convicted of a crime under the laws of any state or the United States, for an offense involving dishonesty, or a crime of the first or second degree."New Jersey Notary Public Manual
 New Mexico"QUALIFICATIONS.–A notary public shall:...D. not have pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or been convicted of a felony; ..."14-12A-3. QUALIFICATIONS
 New York"4. Are you currently a Court Clerk of the Unified Court System, appointed to that position after taking a civil service
promotional examination in the court clerk series titles?

5. Have you ever been convicted of a crime or offense (not a minor traffic violation) OR has any license, commission
or registration ever been denied, suspended or revoked in this state or elsewhere?
(If yes, you must include details/documentation)

6. Are there any criminal charges (misdemeanor or felony) pending against you in any court in this state or elsewhere?
(If yes, you must submit a copy of the accusatory instrument indictment, criminal information or complaint)"
New York Notary Public Application
 North Carolina"The Secretary may deny an application for commission or recommission if any of the following apply to an applicant:...

(2) The applicant's conviction or plea of admission or nolo contendere to a felony or any crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude. In no case may a commission be issued to an applicant within 10 years after release from prison, probation, or parole, whichever is later.

(3) A finding or admission of liability against the applicant in a civil lawsuit based on the applicant's deceit..."
Part 2. Commissioning. § 10B-5. Qualifications
 North Dakota"The secretary of state may deny or refuse to renew a notary public commission, or may revoke, suspend, or condition a notary public commission for any act or omission that demonstrates an individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence, or reliability to act as a notary public, including:...

c. A conviction of the notary public or applicant of any felony or a crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit;

d. A finding against, or admission of liability by, the applicant or notary public in any legal proceeding or disciplinary action based on the applicant's or notary public's fraud, dishonesty, or deceit;..."
44-06.1-21. Grounds to deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend, or condition commission of notary public.
 Ohio"To be qualified to be commissioned as a notary public, a person must not have been convicted of, plead guilty or no contest to a disqualifying offense as defined in section 4776.10 of the Revised Code or a violation of Chapter 2913 of the Revised Code..."CRIMINAL RECORDS CHECK AND DISQUALIFYING OFFENSES
 Oklahoma" In order to be commissioned as a notary, an individual must: ...3. have not been convicted of a felony;..."Oklahoma Notary Public Guide
 Oregon"Not have been convicted of:

– Acting as or otherwise impersonating a notary public as described in ORS 194.990;

– Obstructing governmental or judicial administration under ORS 162.235 (1)(b); or

– Engaging in the unlawful practice of law as described in ORS 9.160.

Not have been found by a court to have:

– Practiced law without a license in a suit under ORS 9.166; or

– ​Engaged in an unlawful trade practice described in ORS 646.608 (1)(vvv)​"
Notary Qualification
 Pennsylvania"(a) Authority.--The department may deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend, reprimand or impose a condition on a commission as notary public for an act or omission which demonstrates that the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence or reliability to act as a notary public.

Such acts or omissions include:...

(3) Conviction of or acceptance of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition by the applicant or notary public for a felony or an offense involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit.

(4) A finding against or admission of liability by the applicant or notary public in a legal proceeding or disciplinary action based on the fraud, dishonesty or deceit of the applicant or notary public..."
Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts § 323. Sanctions
 Rhode Island"(a) The commissioning officer may deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend, or impose a condition on a commission as notary public for any act or omission that demonstrates the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence, or reliability to act as a notary public, including without limitation:



(3) A conviction of the applicant or notary public of any crime that involves fraud, dishonesty, or deceit; provided that in determining whether to deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend, or condition the commission, the commissioning officer shall consider such factors as the seriousness of the crime; whether the crime relates directly to the training and skills needed for the commission of a notary public; how much time has elapsed since the crime was committed; and the applicant’s actions and conduct since the crime was committed;"
CHAPTER § 42-30.1-16. - Uniform Law on Notarial Acts
 South CarolinaTo be updated laterN/A
 South Dakota"The secretary of state may not appoint as a notary public any person who has been convicted of a felony."Codified Laws 18-1-1. Appointment by secretary of state--Term of office--Application procedure--Authority.
 Tennessee"(c) In addition to any other eligibility requirements, each person applying for election as a notary public shall certify under penalty of perjury that such person:

(1) Has never been removed from the office of notary public for official misconduct;

(2) Has never had a notarial commission revoked or suspended by this or any other state; and

(3) Has never been found by a court of this state or any other state to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law."
Justia US Law Tennessee Code 8-16-101
 Texas"Statements Relating to Qualification

I, the above-named applicants, have never been convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude....All applications are subject to a background check"
Application for Appointment as Texas Notary Public
 Utah"(4) The lieutenant governor may deny an application based on:

(a) the applicant’s conviction for a crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude; ..."
Utah Code Title 46-1-3 Qualifications
 Vermont"(a) The Office may deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend, or impose a condition on a commission as notary public for any act or omission that demonstrates the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence, or reliability to act as a notary public, including: ... 3) a conviction of the applicant or notary public of any felony or a crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit;

(4) a finding against, or admission of liability by, the applicant or notary public in any legal proceeding or disciplinary action based on the applicant's or notary public's fraud, dishonesty, or deceit;"
§ 5342. Grounds to deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend, or condition commission of notary public
 Virginia"(iv) shall never have been convicted of a felony under the laws of the United States, the Commonwealth, or any other state, unless such person has been pardoned for such felony, has had his conviction vacated by the granting of a writ of actual innocence, or has had his rights restored"Code of Virginia – § 47.1-4. Qualification for appointment
 Washington"The reasons that the Department may deny an application are listed in RCW 42.45.210 and RCW
18.235.130. Some of the most common of these reasons include:...• A conviction of either a felony or a crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit;..."
Washington State Notary Public Guide
 West Virginia"The Secretary of State may deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend or impose a condition on a commission as a notary public for any act or omission that demonstrates the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence or reliability to act as a notary public, including but not limited to:...• A conviction of the applicant or notary public of any felony or a crime
involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit; ..."
West Virginia Notary Public Handbook
 Wisconsin"A criminal record showing felonies and crimes involving fraud, dishonesty, or violations of public trust may be admissible evidence for purposes of impeaching a witness’s character for truthfulness in a court proceeding. Because a notary public must be a credible witness, an applicant’s criminal record must be free from offenses that could used to impeach the notary public’s character for truthfulness. A person convicted of such offenses may only be commissioned as a notary public if the applicant is pardoned of the conviction."WI Notary Public Information
 Wyoming"A notary public is an office[r] of the state of Wyoming and being convicted of a felony disqualifies a person from holding any office of honor, trust or profit within this state, unless:

(i) The conviction is reversed or annulled;
(ii) The applicant receives a pardon;
(iii) The applicant’s rights are restored pursuant to Wyoming Statute 7-13-105(a);"
Wyoming Notary Handbook

Final Thoughts

The Secretary of State’s Office would put into consideration the honesty, trustworthiness, character of the applicant. Whether a felon can be a notary is subjected to how they evaluate the case.

But no need to get discouraged as everyone has a past. The most important is that you can demonstrate that you will serve the public in a fair, honest, and open manner from now on. Keep in mind that many people depend on the accuracy of your notary acts in processing the important documents. For example, home purchase/selling, getting a mortgage, witness their marriage certificate, Power of Attorney, Wills.

I know I’ve said this many times in this article. But I want to re-emphasize one more time that you should never lie to the Secretary of State. If they ask you questions, then you should answer them as accurate as to the best of your knowledge. You don’t want to end up constantly worrying when the truth will reveal. Build your career on a solid foundation and not on sand. 

I hope you’ll find this article helpful. If so, please share it and leave me a comment below. 

If you are reading up to this point, I bet you must be interested in the notary signing profession. But why reinvent the wheel when there is a proven system that works? Many students had great success following the Loan Signing System (LSS) from Mark Wills. You may click here to check it out yourself. (**)

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change without any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free.

Reference:

  • JobsForFelonsHub.com – ReEntry Programs (Source)
  • FindLaw – Expungement Basics (Source)
  • Cornell Law School – Moral Turpitude (source)
  • The United States Department of Justice – Pardon Information and Instructions (source)

Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

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