Unlawful Use of a Notary Seal

It may seem nothing more than a stamp and a signature, but those responsible for notarizing documents must follow strict rules for using their notary seal as unlawful or improper use is punishable by law.

Notary public

Photo by: edkohler

Photo by: edkohler

A notary or notary public is a person who is licensed and commissioned to sign and seal official papers which are used in legal proceedings. A notary is used as an impartial witness who will ensure proper identification along with required signatures on legally binding documents before placing their notary seal of approval. Notarized documents are often used in many critical events such as:
• Buying or selling a home,
• Establishing power of attorney,
• Creating a will, and
• Adopting a child.
For these reasons, it is not surprising that there are lengthy laws regarding the use of a notary seal and criminal charges when these laws are broken.

Use of a notary seal

Notary Seal

Photo by: Dan Moyle

Title 46 Chapter 1 Sections 1 through 23 of the Utah Code discusses the Notaries Public Reform Act. Here is where all the laws pertaining to a notary public can be found including: required qualifications, prohibitions of use, liabilities of a notary public, and criminal charges for unlawful or improper use. Some of rules regarding the use of a notary seal include:

• 46-1-9.2 “A notary may not ( . . . ) perform any notarial act with intent to deceive or defraud.”
• 46-1-11(1) “A nonattorney notary may not provide advice or counsel to another person concerning legal documents or legal proceedings, including immigration matters.”
A violation of these and other laws regarding the use of a notary seal are punishable as class B misdemeanors. The same criminal charges apply to those who employ the notary or issue the seal to them who break the following laws:
• 46-1-18(3)(b) “It is a class B misdemeanor ( . . . )for: the employer of a notary to solicit the notary to perform a notarial act in violation of [The Notaries Public Reform Act]”
• 46-1-17 “A vendor may not provide a notarial seal, either inking or embossing, to a person claiming to be a notary, unless the person presents a photocopy of the person’s notarial commission, attached to a notarized declaration ( . . . ) “. A vendor who does so is guilty of a class B misdemeanor
A notary public or those employing a notary or issuing a notary seal who are facing any criminal charges are encouraged to seek legal counsel with a reputable criminal defense attorney.

Failure to Obey a Crossing Guard – Respect the Vest

During the morning or afternoon commute, always pay attention to the people in orange at crosswalks as failure to obey a crossing guard can actually result in a ticket.

Back to school

Photo by: Melissa Doroquez

Photo by: Melissa Doroquez

School is back in session throughout most of the state and with that comes the neighborhood crossing guard who may occasionally let the authority of their job go to their heads. Most crossing guards use common sense and don’t walk out abruptly into traffic or guide children across busy intersections unless the walk sign is illuminated. Others however, seem to choose the most inopportune times to stop traffic and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

That’s Mr. Crossing guard to you

Crossing guards are more than power hungry people with a stop sign and orange vest. They are hired by the state of Utah to protect and guide the children going to and from school and as thus are given jurisdiction over the assigned crosswalk zones. Failure to obey a crossing guard, no matter how ill-timed their decisions to stop traffic are, can result in a $75 ticket. Utah Code 41-6a-209 states “a person may not willfully fail or willfully refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of a: peace officer, firefighter, flagger ( . . . ) or uniformed adult school crossing guard invested by law with authority to direct, control, or regulate traffic.”

Respect the vest

Crossing Guard

Photo by: David D

It can be embarrassing when a crossing guard stops and scolds a driver for disobeying their order to stop, but the best thing the driver can do in that instance is respect the vest and apologize profusely, hoping to be forgiven so a ticket will not follow.

Rules for Watching TV in the Car

Watching TV in the car is easier than ever with the use of portable devices or built-in DVD players, yet there are rules regarding who is allowed to be entertained by a movie while driving.

Progression of watching TV in the car

Watching TV in the Car

Photo by: rick

Before DVD players became the standard for all family type vehicles, parents had to endure hours on the road with grumpy kids who were tired of playing the license plate game. Some families as early as the 1980’s discovered they could strap a small TV and VCR inside the car and plug it into the cigarette lighter with a power converter. In the late 1990’s the first portable DVD player was invented, allowing parents an easier and lighter way to bring movies on the road with them. Nowadays with built-in DVD players and smartphones capable of playing full length movies, every passenger in the vehicle is able to watch the show of their choice during boring road trips.

Passengers only

Watching TV in the car is not allowed for everyone however. Obviously for safety reasons, the driver is not allowed this same luxury. Not only are drivers prohibited from watching TV in the car, they aren’t even allowed to be able to see the screen that someone else is watching. Utah Code 41-6a-1641 states: “A motor vehicle may not be operated on a highway if the motor vehicle is equipped with a video display located so that the display is visible to the operator of the vehicle.” The only exceptions to this rule are for law enforcement, navigation purposes, or for viewing vehicle systems such as rear facing cameras.

Out of driver’s view

Some DVD players are attached to the vehicle’s audio system making them easily viewable to everyone in the car. Additionally, DVD players located in the back seat may be seen by the driver if a mirror to watch rear facing children is installed, making the screen viewable in the mirror. Regardless of where the screen is located, drivers who are caught watching TV in the car or having a screen in view may end up with a $40 ticket.