Peeing in public may seem like a harmless act some drunk college students or a homeless person may commit with no consequences, even if any, it doesn’t go beyond the shame of people seeing you in the act in public.

But that is a wrong notion, because the law takes an exception, and indeed, when caught in the act, one could face several charges for peeing in public. Several state ordinances prescribe some harsh penalties for the act.

Necessity as a defense for urinating in public

Most often, people accosted for urinating in public use the defense of necessity, implying that they were hard-pressed and just had no choice than to pee in public. That defense however may not be sufficient to get one off the hook in court, because in mounting such a defense, one has to prove the following:

  • That they didn’t contribute, in a significant way, to the circumstances that led the crime to be committed.
  • That no public restroom alternatives were available
  • That on a balance of logic, the harm to the defendant was weightier than the harm caused society, leading them to break the law.

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Intoxication as a defense for peeing in public

intoxication as defense for peeing in public

Others may choose to defend a charge of peeing in public, citing intoxication. In many states, intoxication will not suffice as a defense. With a clean record, a good lawyer may be able to get a dismissal with fine payment and a promise not to repeat the act.

Peeing in public charges and penalties

Urinating in public elicits charges that goes beyond the act in itself. Prosecutors also consider the harm done to society and public or private property. Prosecutors can charge offenders with the following charges for peeing in public.

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1. Indecent Exposure

Many states in the United States have laws prohibiting indecent exposure. Exposure of genitals in public carry several consequences depending on the age of the people affected by such an exposure.

In the case of peeing in public, while in all genuineness, the offender, didn’t intend to offend others, it becomes a criminal offence if the people who witnessed the act, take offence. Felony charges can be slapped on a person if a minor was a victim of the indecent exposure. A lesser charge of misdemeanor may apply if the victims were adults.

Penalties for indecent exposure include fines and jail time. In states such as Georgia, Arizona and California, an offender, if convicted, could also end up having to register as a sex offender if minors witnessed the indecent exposure.

2. Public Nuisance

An officer may decide to charge you with the offence of causing public nuisance, even in the situation where genitals were not exposed while the offense was being committed.

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Other consequences of peeing in public

A conviction for peeing in public may seem unserious, especially when one is only fined, but that is a misjudgment as the rippling effect will follow the offender the rest of their life. The offense will appear on your criminal background and will affect your employment chances.

What to do when caught peeing in public

The first and foremost advice is, don’t do it. If you’re genuinely thinking of peeing in public because you couldn’t find a public restroom, you could ask politely, any private property owner around to allow you to use their washroom. It’s a human condition which can befall anyone and most likely, they won’t say no.

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But if you’re already in the net, here are a few things you should do.

1. Don’t disregard or pay citation fine immediately

If caught in the act, an officer may issue a citation for urinating in public.  A citation is a complaint for a crime, it will be to your detriment if you ignore the citation. Also paying the fines after a citation is issued is tantamount to an admission of guilt, and as already stated above, the crime of urinating in public will indelibly be added to your criminal record.

2. Contact your lawyer right away

Get in touch with your lawyers, narrating in detail, what happened. This will help your lawyer gather the facts of the matter and decide on the right tactic to employ to mount your defense.

Peeing in public FAQS

is peeing in public a crime?

Yes, Peeing in public is a criminal offense which when convicted, penalties such as jail time or fines may apply depending on the severity of the offense.

can you go to jail for peeing in public?

Yes, you can go to jail for peeing in public when convicted of indecent exposure arising from the act of urinating in public. Some states may require you to register as a sex offender if a minor was a victim of your indecent exposure.