Impersonation of Notary
Colorado notary law CRS 12-55-117 defines willful impersonation of a notary. Any person who acts as, or otherwise willfully impersonates, a notary public, while not lawfully appointed and commissioned to perform notarial acts, is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.
This applies to criminals using notary impersonation to commit forgery or fraud, but it may also apply in other situations.
If a notary employee is gone on vacation or is off duty, no one else may use the notary’s stamp to notarize a document while the notary is gone. The notary must keep the notary stamp and journal secure.
A notary should also be careful to check the expiration date of his/her commission. The notary must not perform a notarial act after the expiration date, or if the notary commission has been suspended or revoked, or if the notary is no longer qualified to be a notary.
Unauthorized Oath of Office
Notaries are authorized to administer oaths and affirmations, for written documents, or for witness testimony, or for oaths of office for elected or appointed officials.
Many organizations, such as a Homeowners Association (HOA), non-profit, or a for-profit business, or a club, elect or appoint officers. Some organizations hold annual elections, annual meetings or installation dinners where newly elected officers take their oaths of office.
According to Colorado law, only certain public officials, including notaries, have the legal authority to administer an oath or affirmation. So, a person who is not a notary, should not administer an oath of office. An oath of office, administered by a non-authorized person, might be challenged or impersonation. A non-authorized person must not perform notarial acts.
Notaries may purchase notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance to protect against mistakes. However, willful, illegal acts are not covered by insurance.