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Is Urinating in Public a Crime?

Is Urinating in Public a Crime?



Is Urinating in Public a Crime?

The call of nature is not something we can ignore for long. Most of the time, heeding the call is no problem, but that’s not the case when you’re in public. As you’ll soon learn, engaging in public urination is not a good idea.


The state of Arizona has laws in place that discourage urinating in public. Even if you don’t know about them, you can still be found in violation of them by the court.

Find out more about the laws regarding public urination in Arizona by reading on. By the time you finish this article, you’ll understand why you should never try to answer the call of nature anywhere outside of a restroom.

Public Urination According to Arizona Law

As noted earlier, the state of Arizona has laws that actively discourage people from urinating in public. You can find the laws concerning public urination in Arizona in Title 36 of the state’s revised statutes.

Title 36 of Arizona law outlines public health and safety guidelines for the state. Found in Title 36 is Chapter 6, which governs public health control.

Take a closer look at Article 1 in Chapter 6, and you’ll find the conditions that the state of Arizona considers to be public nuisances that are dangerous to public health. To be more specific, paragraph 13 in Article 1 notes that spitting or urinating on floors, sidewalks, and walls of buildings, are all public nuisances.

The same paragraph notes that spitting or urinating on the floors and/or platforms of public forms of transportation can also be public nuisances. You can say the same thing for spitting or urinating on any other part of public transportation.

Why Do People Urinate in Public?

Deciding to urinate in public is not a good idea. You don’t need a law to tell you as much.

So, why do people still urinate in public? There are several potential explanations.

In many cases, someone decides it’s a good idea to urinate in public because they’ve already had too much to drink. Being intoxicated often causes people to become more susceptible to making bad decisions. That’s part of the reason why way too many people engage in irresponsible and dangerous activities such as drunk driving.

Some folks also tend to think that urinating in public is okay after a night of partying. With the bathrooms in the bar or club crowded, partygoers may decide to head outside to relieve themselves, which is not a smart move.

Some people do not regard urinating in public as a big deal. Urine may not be a hazardous substance, but it can still be an irritant. The smell can be off-putting especially if the urine is not cleared away quickly.

People can come up with all kinds of reasons or justifications for why they decided to urinate in public. At the end of the day though, you’re still violating Arizona law if you engage in that activity no matter what reason you have.

penalties for urinating in public

What Are the Penalties for Public Urination in Arizona?

The next time you get the idea to urinate in public, take a moment to think about the penalties you may potentially face. Public urination is considered as a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona. That means you could be looking at some serious penalties because of your poor judgment.

First off, those who are found guilty of urinating in public may face jail time. They may be ordered to spend six months in jail. Notably, six months is the maximum jail sentence for your first violation, so there’s a chance that you can negotiate the length of the sentence down.

You should also know that the court may order you to serve your full sentence. Loopholes that could have given you a way out of jail sentence may be sealed shut by that court order.

Jail time is not the only thing you have to worry about if you urinate in public. In addition to that penalty, you may also pay a fine. The fine for a violation such as that is no lower than $150 and it can also go as high as $2,500.

Violators may also receive probation time. You may be put on probation for up to three years due to your public urination charge.

A class 1 misdemeanor violation can also hurt you in other ways. Remember that your conviction will stay on your criminal record. That blemish on your criminal record may make it harder for you to find a job later on.

Lastly, the penalties may grow worse for subsequent misdemeanor violations. You could find yourself in some hot water if you continue to disregard the laws regarding public urination.

How Do You Fight Public Urination Charges?

The penalties linked to public urination can be as bad as the ones stemming from a DUI charge. You cannot shrug off a public urination charge and hope that things will work out for you. Instead, you need to be proactive and fight against the charges.

The first thing you need to do once you learn that authorities are planning to press charges is to find a lawyer. Getting a lawyer is a good idea in any legal scenario, but it’s even more important here, considering what you’re up against.

A lawyer can help you fight against a public urination charge in different ways. Let’s discuss them further below.

Casting Doubt on the Police Officer’s Testimony

In a case such as this, the authorities will need to prove that you urinated in public. You might assume that you’re in the clear because you didn’t urinate in public, but the police may be insistent on their point. They may believe that you committed a violation because they could not see what you were doing and got the wrong idea.

If it’s going to be your word against police testimony, you will probably need some help. That’s where the lawyer comes in.

Your lawyer can help formulate defenses against the mistaken testimony of the police. After examining the facts of your case, your lawyer can start poking holes in the testimony of the police. If there are any inconsistencies in the testimony, an experienced lawyer can identify them.

Gathering Evidence Disproving Your Public Urination Charge

The best evidence the police may come up with to mistakenly charge you with public urination is their own testimony. It’s true that their testimonies often hold a lot of weight with juries, but it’s not without fault. Police officers can still make mistakes.

With a good lawyer by your side, the two of you can work on gathering evidence that disproves the notion that you were urinating in public. Your lawyer can get in touch with any establishments near the area and ask if they have video footage that could help in your case. They may also approach the police themselves and seek footage from their cameras to determine what they saw.

People at the scene where you were supposedly urinating in public may also be willing to vouch for your innocence. Your lawyer can get in touch with them and ask them to provide statements.

The bottom line here is that public urination charges against you won’t stick if you truly didn’t commit that violation. Work with a lawyer to uncover the evidence that proves your innocence and put this unpleasant ordeal behind you.

Preparing You for the Upcoming Trial

One more reason why you need the help of a lawyer when fighting against a public urination charge is the likelihood that the case will head to trial. This is not the type of case where the police or the prosecutors are typically willing to negotiate. Often, cases that involve public urination go to trial, and you need to prepare for that.

Your lawyer can help prepare you for that upcoming court date. A competent lawyer can coach you in court and make the case for the truth. They will let the facts speak for themselves, and that will be to your benefit.

Since some folks may think that a trial for public urination is not a big deal, they may want to represent themselves. Doing that is risky. You could end up losing a case you should win.

Give yourself the best chance of beating a bogus public urination charge by working with a lawyer.

Could You Face an Indecent Exposure Charge along with a Public Urination Charge?

Urinating in public is something you should never do. It’s inappropriate, unsanitary, and potentially costly for you from a legal standpoint.

We’ve already outlined how a public urination charge can affect you, but that’s not the only thing you need to worry about. You may also receive an indecent exposure charge depending on what happened while you were urinating in public.

Because of how intoxicated you were, you may not have been aware of the actions you were making at the time. Even if you did so without fully knowing what you were doing, you still may have exposed yourself to others while you were urinating.

According to Arizona Law, a person who exposes their genitals in a way that would offend or alarm another person can receive a charge for indecent exposure. Whether you were fueled by alcohol or not, doing something like that can put you in a tough spot.

What Are the Penalties for Indecent Exposure in Arizona?

Indecent exposure is a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona. Like public urination, the penalties for indecent exposure can impact you in a variety of ways.

Jail time is something you need to worry about again. Remember that the maximum jail sentence for someone who commits a class 1 misdemeanor is six months.

Fines will also be imposed on those who are found guilty of indecent exposure. The minimum fine is $150, but you may pay as much as $2,500.

Probation is another penalty often handed down to individuals found guilty of indecent exposure. You may be put on probation for up to three years due to your violation.

Don’t forget about the mark on your criminal record that an indecent exposure conviction will leave behind. You may have a hard time landing a job with that mark on your record.

How the Penalties for Indecent Exposure Can Get Worse

The penalties for indecent exposure can get worse, depending on the circumstances.

If this wasn’t the first time, you will face tougher penalties as a result. A person guilty of indecent exposure may receive harsher penalties if they exposed themselves to someone under fifteen years of age.

The indecent exposure charge may no longer be a class 1 misdemeanor. Instead, it may be a class 6 felony.

The charge elevating to a felony means that the sentence you serve may change. Six months in jail is no longer the maximum punishment you may receive.

After being charged with a class 6 felony, you could be looking at a potential six -month stay in prison. You should also know that the standard prison sentence for a class 6 felony is one year in prison while the maximum sentence is eighteen months.

Things can spiral out of control in a hurry after a momentary lapse in judgment that led to you thinking urinating in public is acceptable behavior. Avoid that activity altogether and save yourself from a lot of potential problems.

It’s a different matter if your issues are stemming from false accusations. You’ll need a lawyer in that scenario. Get in touch with us at the Schill Law Group, and we’ll fight to ensure that you are not found guilty of a bogus public urination charge.