(A) As used in this section:
(1) "Lawfully issued" means adopted, issued, or rendered in accordance with the United States constitution, the constitution of a state, and the applicable statutes, rules, regulations, and ordinances of the United States, a state, and the political subdivisions of a state.
(2) "State" means a state of the United States, including without limitation, the state legislature, the highest court of the state that has statewide jurisdiction, the offices of all elected state officers, and all departments, boards, offices, commissions, agencies, institutions, and other instrumentalities of the state. "State" does not include the political subdivisions of the state.
(3) "Political subdivisions" means municipal corporations, townships, counties, school districts, and all other bodies corporate and politic that are organized under state law and are responsible for governmental activities only in geographical areas smaller than that of a state.
(4) "Sham legal process" means an instrument that meets all of the following conditions:
(a) It is not lawfully issued.
(b) It purports to do any of the following:
(i) To be a summons, subpoena, judgment, or order of a court, a law enforcement officer, or a legislative, executive, or administrative body.
(ii) To assert jurisdiction over or determine the legal or equitable status, rights, duties, powers, or privileges of any person or property.
(iii) To require or authorize the search, seizure, indictment, arrest, trial, or sentencing of any person or property.
(c) It is designed to make another person believe that it is lawfully issued.
(B) No person shall, knowing the sham legal process to be sham legal process, do any of the following:
(1) Knowingly issue, display, deliver, distribute, or otherwise use sham legal process;
(2) Knowingly use sham legal process to arrest, detain, search, or seize any person or the property of another person;
(3) Knowingly commit or facilitate the commission of an offense, using sham legal process;
(4) Knowingly commit a felony by using sham legal process.
(C) It is an affirmative defense to a charge under division (B)(1) or (2) of this section that the use of sham legal process was for a lawful purpose.
(D) Whoever violates this section is guilty of using sham legal process. A violation of division (B)(1) of this section is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. A violation of division (B)(2) or (3) of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree, except that, if the purpose of a violation of division (B)(3) of this section is to commit or facilitate the commission of a felony, a violation of division (B)(3) of this section is a felony of the fourth degree. A violation of division (B)(4) of this section is a felony of the third degree.
(E) A person who violates this section is liable in a civil action to any person harmed by the violation for injury, death, or loss to person or property incurred as a result of the commission of the offense and for reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, and other expenses incurred as a result of prosecuting the civil action commenced under this division. A civil action under this division is not the exclusive remedy of a person who incurs injury, death, or loss to person or property as a result of a violation of this section.
Cite as R.C. § 2921.52
History. Effective Date: 11-06-1996