§ 11-42-5. Simulating legal process.
(a) No person, firm, corporation, association, agent or employee shall in any manner coerce, intimidate, threaten, retaliate against or attempt to coerce or intimidate or threaten any public official as defined in § 11-42-4 in connection with any claim, demand or account, by the issuance, utterance or delivery of any matter, printed, typed or written, which is unauthorized by a statute or court of this state and that simulates in form and substance legal process of a court of this state.
(b) No person shall prepare, send, deliver, issue, serve, execute, or otherwise act to further the operation of any unauthorized process.
(c) As used in this section:
(1) "Legal process" means a summons, complaint, pleading, writ, warrant, injunction, notice, subpoena, lien, order, or other document issued or entered by or on behalf of a court or lawful tribunal or lawfully filed with or recorded by a governmental agency that is used as a means of exercising or acquiring jurisdiction over a person or property, or a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) or other filing with the secretary of state or any city or town recorder that creates or purports to create a lien or cloud on the title of real or personal property, or to assert or give notice of a legal claim against a person or property, or to direct persons to take or refrain from an action.
(2) "Unauthorized process" means any of the following:
(i) A document simulating legal process that is prepared or issued by or on behalf of an entity that purports or represents itself to be a lawful tribunal or a court, public employee, or other agency created, established, authorized, or sanctioned by law but is not a lawful tribunal or court, public officer, or other agency created, established, authorized, or sanctioned by law.
(ii) A document that by its form, wording, use of the name of the state of Rhode Island or any lawful tribunal, public employee, or subdivision thereof, use of seals or insignia, or general appearance has a tendency meant to create in the mind of the ordinary person the false impression that it has judicial or other official authorization, sanction or approval.
(iii) A document that would otherwise be legal process except that it was not authorized, issued or entered by or on behalf of a court or lawful tribunal or lawfully filed with, authorized by or recorded by a governmental agency as required by law. However, this subparagraph does not apply to a document that would otherwise be legal process but for one or more technical defects, including, but not limited to, errors involving names, spelling, addresses, or time of issue or filing or other defects that do not relate to the substance of the claim or action underlying the document.
(3) A person who violates this section shall be guilty of a felony and shall be imprisoned for not more than five (5) years, or fined not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both.
(P.L. 2005, ch. 94, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 108, § 1.)