§ 14. Words and phrases; construction; tense; gender; number
* * * signature or subscription includes mark, when the person cannot write, his name being written near it, by a person who writes his own name as a witness; provided, that when a signature is by mark it must in order that the same may be acknowledged or may serve as the signature to any sworn statement be witnessed by two persons who must subscribe their own names as witnesses thereto. * * *
§ 1181. Notaries public; officers before whom proof or acknowledgment may be made
The proof or acknowledgment of an instrument may be made before a notary public at any place within this state, or within the county or city and county in this state in which the officer specified below was elected or appointed, before either:
(a) A clerk of a superior court.
(b) A county clerk.
(c) A court commissioner.
(d) A retired judge of a municipal or justice court.
(e) A district attorney.
(f) A clerk of a board of supervisors.
(g) A city clerk.
(h) A county counsel.
(i) A city attorney.
(j) Secretary of the Senate.
(k) Chief Clerk of the Assembly.
§ 1185. Acknowledgments; requisites
(a) The acknowledgment of an instrument shall not be taken unless the officer taking it has satisfactory evidence that the person making the acknowledgment is the individual who i described in and who executed the instrument.
(b) For the purposes of this section “satisfactory evidence” means the absence of information, evidence, or other circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the person making the acknowledgment is not the individual he or she claims to be and any one of the following:
(1)(A) The oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally known to the officer, whose identity is proven to the officer upon presentation of a document satisfying the requirements of paragraph (3) or (4), that the person making the acknowledgment is personally known to the witness and that each of the following are true:
(i) The person making the acknowledgment is the person named in the document.
(ii) The person making the acknowledgment is personally known to the witness.
(iii) That it is the reasonable belief of the witness that the circumstances of the person making the acknowledgment are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for that person to obtain another form of identification.
(iv) The person making the acknowledgment does not possess any of the identification documents named in paragraphs (3) and (4).
(v) The witness does not have a financial interest in the document being acknowledged and is not named in the document.
(B) A notary public who violates this section by failing to obtain the satisfactory evidence required by subparagraph (A) shall be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000). An action to impose this civil penalty may be brought by the Secretary of State in an administrative proceeding or a public prosecutor in superior court, and shall be enforced as a civil judgment. A public prosecutor shall inform the secretary of any civil penalty imposed under this subparagraph.
(2) The oath or affirmation under penalty of perjury of two credible witnesses, whose identities are proven to the officer upon the presentation of a document satisfying the requirements of paragraph (3) or (4), that each statement in paragraph (1) is true.
(3) Reasonable reliance on the presentation to the officer of any one of the following, if the document or other form of identification is current or has been issued within five years:
(A) An identification card or driver’s license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
(B) A passport issued by the Department of State of the United States.
(C) An inmate identification card issued by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, if the inmate is in custody in prison.
(D) Any form of inmate identification issued by a sheriff’s department, if the inmate is in custody in a local detention facility.
(4) Reasonable reliance on the presentation of any one of the following, provided that a document specified in subparagraphs (A) to (F), inclusive, shall either be current or have been issued within five years and shall contain a photograph and description of the person named on it, shall be signed by the person, and shall bear a serial or other identifying number:
(A) A valid consular identification document issued by a consulate from the applicant’s country of citizenship, or a valid passport from the applicant’s country of citizenship.
(B) A driver’s license issued by a state other than California or by a Canadian or Mexican public agency authorized to issue driver’s licenses.
(C) An identification card issued by a state other than California.
(D) An identification card issued by any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States.
(E) An employee identification card issued by an agency or office of the State of California, or by an agency or office of a city, county, or city and county in this state.
(F) An identification card issued by a federally recognized tribal government.
(c) An officer who has taken an acknowledgment pursuant to this section shall be presumed to have operated in accordance with the provisions of law.
(d) A party who files an action for damages based on the failure of the officer to establish the proper identity of the person making the acknowledgment shall have the burden of proof in establishing the negligence or misconduct of the officer.
(e) A person convicted of perjury under this section shall forfeit any financial interest in the document.
§ 1188. Certificate of acknowledgment
An officer taking the acknowledgment of an instrument shall endorse thereon or attach thereto
a certificate pursuant to Section 1189.
§ 1189. Certificate of acknowledgment; form; sufficiency of out of state acknowledgment; force and effect of acknowledgment under prior laws
(a)(1) Any certificate of acknowledgment taken within this state shall include a notice at the top of the certificate of acknowledgment in an enclosed box stating: “A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.” This notice shall be legible.
(2) The physical format of the boxed notice at the top of the certificate of acknowledgment required pursuant to paragraph (3) is an example, for purposes of illustration and not limitation, of the physical format of a boxed notice fulfilling the requirements of paragraph (1).
(3) A certificate of acknowledgment taken within this state shall be in the following form:
(4) A notary public who willfully states as true any material fact that he or she knows to be false shall be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000). An action to impose a civil penalty under this subdivision may be brought by the Secretary of State in an administrative proceeding or any public prosecutor in superior court, and shall be enforced as a civil judgment. A public prosecutor shall inform the secretary of any civil penalty imposed under this section.
(b) Any certificate of acknowledgment taken in another place shall be sufficient in this state if it is taken in accordance with the laws of the place where the acknowledgment is made.
(c) On documents to be fled in another state or jurisdiction of the United States, a California notary public may complete any acknowledgment form as may be required in that other state or jurisdiction on a document, provided the form does not require the notary to determine or certify that the signer holds a particular representative capacity or to make other determinations and certifications not allowed by California law.
(d) An acknowledgment provided prior to January 1, 1993, and conforming to applicable provisions of former Sections 1189, 1190, 1190a, 1190.1, 1191, and 1192, as repealed by Chapter 335 of the Statutes of 1990, shall have the same force and effect as if those sections had not been repealed.
§ 1190. Certificate of acknowledgment as prima facie evidence; duly authorized person
The certificate of acknowledgment of an instrument executed on behalf of an incorporated or unincorporated entity by a duly authorized person in the form specified in Section 1189 shall be prima facie evidence that the instrument is the duly authorized act of the entity named in the instrument and shall be conclusive evidence thereof in favor of any good faith purchaser, lessee, or encumbrancer. “Duly authorized person,” with respect to a domestic or foreign corporation, includes the president, vice president, secretary, and assistant secretary of the corporation.
§ 1193. Certificate of acknowledgment; authentication
Officers taking and certifying acknowledgments or proof of instruments for record, must authenticate their certificates by affixing thereto their signatures, followed by the names of their offices; also, their seals of office, if by the laws of the State or country where the acknowledgment or proof is taken, or by authority of which they are acting, they are required to have official seals.
§ 1195. Proof of execution; methods; certificate form
(a) Proof of the execution of an instrument, when not acknowledged, may be made by any of the following:
(1) By the party executing it, or either of them.
(2) By a subscribing witness.
(3) By other witnesses, in cases mentioned in Section 1198.
(b) (1) Proof of the execution of a power of attorney, grant deed, mortgage, deed of trust, quitclaim deed, security agreement, or any instrument affecting real property is not permitted pursuant to Section 27287 of the Government Code, though proof of the execution of a trustee’s deed or deed of reconveyance is permitted.
(2) Proof of the execution for any instrument requiring a notary public to obtain a thumbprint from the party signing the document in the notary public’s journal is not permitted.
(c) Any certificate for proof of execution taken within this state shall include a notice at the top of the certificate for proof of execution in an enclosed box stating: “A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.” This notice shall be legible.
(d) The physical format of the boxed notice at the top of the certificate for proof of execution required pursuant to subdivision (e) is an example, for purposes of illustration and not limitation, of the physical format of a boxed notice fulfilling the requirements of subdivision (c).
(e) A certificate for proof of execution taken within this state shall be in the following form:
§ 1196. Subscribing witness; establishment of identity
A witness shall be proved to be a subscribing witness by the oath of a credible witness who provides the officer with any document satisfying the requirements of paragraph (3) or (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 1185.
§ 1197. Subscribing witness; items to be proved
The subscribing witness must prove that the person whose name is subscribed to the instrument as a party is the person described in it, and that such person executed it, and that the witness subscribed his name thereto as a witness.
§ 1633.11. Notarization and signature under penalty of perjury requirements
(a) If a law requires that a signature be notarized, the requirement is satisfied with respect to an electronic signature if an electronic record includes, in addition to the electronic signature to be notarized, the electronic signature of a notary public together with all other information required to be included in a notarization by other applicable law.
§ 1633.12. Retaining records; electronic satisfaction
(a) If a law requires that a record be retained, the requirement is satisfied by retaining an electronic record of the information in the record, if the electronic record rejects accurately the information set forth in the record at the time it was first generated in its final form as an electronic record or otherwise, and the electronic record remains accessible for later reference.
(b) A requirement to retain a record in accordance with subdivision (a) does not apply to any information the sole purpose of which is to enable the record to be sent, communicated, or received.
(c) A person may satisfy subdivision (a) by using the services of another person if the requirements of subdivision (a) are satisfied.
(d) If a law requires a record to be retained in its original form, or provides consequences if the record is not retained in its original form, that law is satisfied by an electronic record retained in accordance with subdivision (a).
(e) If a law requires retention of a check, that requirement is satisfied by retention of an electronic record of the information on the front and back of the check in accordance with subdivision (a).
(f) A record retained as an electronic record in accordance with subdivision (a) satisfies a law requiring a person to retain a record for evidentiary, audit, or like purposes, unless a law enacted after the effective date of this title specifically prohibits the use of an electronic record for a specified purpose.
(g) This section does not preclude a governmental agency from specifying additional requirements for the retention of a record subject to the agency’s jurisdiction.