Does Public Urination Go on Your Record? – Criminal Defense Attorney

Does Public Urination Go on Your Record

Three Important Points:

  1. Public urination can result in legal consequences ranging from minor infractions to misdemeanors, which can impact future job prospects and academic standings. The classification and severity depend on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances.
  2. A public urination offense only goes on an individual’s record after a misdemeanor conviction. Being charged is not the same as being guilty. If charged as an infraction, it doesn’t go on the record and typically results in just a fine.
  3. Different jurisdictions have various rules regarding public urination. For instance, in some states and cities, it’s not considered a crime, while in others, it can lead to a misdemeanor based on local ordinances.

Does Public Urination Go on Your Record? – If the M is Circled on Your Promise to Appear then it is a Misdemeanor

Public urination is a topic many find humorous or trivial at first glance. However, the reality of the legal consequences surrounding this act is anything but. Depending on the jurisdiction and other specifics of the situation, the penalties for public urination can range from minor infractions to more severe misdemeanors. Not only can this action result in a criminal record, but it can also impact future job prospects and even academic standings. Hieu Vu, a Criminal Defense Attorney, provides a detailed look into the world of public urination laws, highlighting the misconceptions, the varying penalties across states, and the implications it holds for those charged.

Details how a person should approach a Public Urination Charge in Downtown Fullerton

 Contact a legal professional today to understand your rights and best course of action.”

When Does Public Urination Go on Your Record?

I am often asked the question of When Does Public Urination Go on Your Record?

It ONLY Goes on Your record After a Misdemeanor Conviction. 

Some people think that it goes on your record at the moment you are given the ticket. This is not true. There are law in this nation and the state must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt or you admit guilt before they can put a misdemeanor on your record. There are several burdens of proof.

Being Charged is Not the Same as being Guilty. 

Many people are charged with crimes in the criminal court system.  However, being charged does not mean a person did the crime. It only means there was a suspicion something happen. the same thing applies with a public urination charge as well. The Officer will write a citation to send you to court.  The court is where Guilt is determined. 

Conviction of a Public urination Will Result in a Misdemeanor

Officers will often say to show up to court as it just falls under the category of minor offenses. However people are surprised they are dealing with a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor will stay on your criminal record.

A Misdemeanor Will Show Up on Background Check for Employment.

misdemeanor conviction will happen when a person decides not to fight the charge and goes into court the first day and pleads guilty to the misdemeanor

Your criminal record will follow you everywhere you go. This criminal record is run every time you apply for a job. In addition to that, there are many job applications that ask if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or any kind of crime. A conviction for a Public Urination in this since will cause trouble and hinder your ability to get a job.

Different Jurisdictions Will Categorize Public Urination  as a Misdemeanor while Others say it is an Infraction

Not every state has a law making it a crime.

Some states do not criminalize it like the state of Oregon where the appeal court ruled that it was not a crime.

 In a majority opinion, the court wrote that urine isn’t specifically mentioned in the state’s offensive littering law. What’s more, it’s not “discarded” or “deposited” from the body, the ruling said.

“One discharges urine, rather than discarding it,” it said.

It is not a crime in San Francisco, CA for public policy reasons, 

“We will not prosecute cases involving quality-of-life crimes,” DA Chesa Boudin said. “Crimes such as public camping, offering or soliciting sex, public urination, blocking a sidewalk, etc., should not and will not be prosecuted. Many of these crimes are still being prosecuted; we have a long way to go to decriminalize poverty and homelessness.”

But it could be a crime in other cities like the city of Fullerton in California up the reading of the town’s local ordinance.

7.110.010   Public excretion.
   No person shall urinate or defecate in a:
   A.    Public place;
   B.    Place open to the public or exposed to public view; or
   C.    Private place entered without consent of the owner, his agent, or the person in lawful possession thereof.
   This section shall not apply to urination or defecation in any fixture provided for such purposes in any bathroom, restroom, dressing room, or similar facility. (Ord. 2343 (part), 1981).
7.110.030   Penalty.
   Any violation of this chapter is a misdemeanor. (Ord. 2825 § 20, 1992).
Arrest Warrant in Orange County
Public Urination citations can be either an infraction or misdemeanor

Why can’t I pee in public places?

It is more political than anything else. You are not committing a crime of the century. Actually, it is more of a crime of youthful indiscretion. Some people prefer to think of it as “when you gotta go you gotta go” However, police officers are under pressure to clean up the city and keep citizens happy. Nobody likes out of towners coming into town and pissing all over the place. So as a result they have started charging with Public Urination as misdemeanors which leads it to go on people’s records.



Misdeameanor conviction

Lots of employers will ask potential new hires about their criminal background.

What differentiates a misdemeanor from an infraction when it comes to public urination?

A misdemeanor is recorded on your criminal record, while an infraction is typically treated similarly to a traffic ticket. Convictions for misdemeanor crimes can hinder future employment opportunities because applicants often have to disclose convictions for misdemeanors or felonies.

How does a misdemeanor affect job applications and background checks?

Misdemeanors must be disclosed on many employment applications. If two candidates have similar qualifications and one has a criminal conviction while the other doesn’t, employers often prefer the individual with a clean record.

Why do some jurisdictions treat public urination as a minor infraction while others view it as a misdemeanor?

Some jurisdictions don’t prioritize enforcing public urination laws, with police occasionally overlooking the offense. In contrast, cities like Redondo Beach and Fullerton have bars and restaurants near residential areas. Attendees of these establishments sometimes urinate in the neighboring areas due to limited restroom facilities in the venues, prompting stricter enforcement.

Are there any defenses available if one is charged with public urination due to medical conditions?

Medical conditions can be presented as mitigating factors in a public urination charge. During negotiations with a prosecutor, this information can be vital. A defense attorney may leverage these medical conditions to strike a favorable deal or even get the charges dismissed.

How does a prior criminal history affect the penalties or implications of a public urination charge?

A criminal history can count against you in a public urination case. However, previous non-alcohol-related charges like shoplifting or domestic violence may not be as impactful as charges related to alcohol consumption, such as DUIs or prior public urination offenses. Repeat offenses can indicate a pattern of behavior rather than a one-time mistake.

What are the potential consequences for college students if charged or convicted of public urination?

Some colleges and universities have student conduct review procedures. Students are often expected to maintain good behavior and avoid convictions. A known conviction, even for public urination, can have repercussions within the educational institution.

How reliable are charges based solely on police observations without concrete evidence of the act?

Charges based on police observations are generally deemed reliable. Officers might testify about frequent occurrences of public urination in certain areas. Moreover, many officers wear body cameras that can provide additional evidence. It’s rare for officers to jeopardize their careers by falsifying details in a case as minor as public urination.

What steps should an individual take after being cited for public urination to ensure they understand their rights and potential consequences?

After receiving a citation for public urination, one should consider seeking professional legal counsel. An attorney can guide the individual through the process and help avoid potential pitfalls. Some individuals who try to manage their case alone might inadvertently end up with an arrest warrant due to missed court dates or miscommunication following an initial arraignment.

Do I need a lawyer for Public Urination Case?

Most likely NOT Unless it is charged as a Misdemeanor and even if it is charged as a misdemeanor you still may not need a lawyer. 

You Do NOT Need a Lawyer if Your Public Urination Charged as an infraction

If your offense is charged as an infraction then this is good news.

Infraction Charges DO NOT go on your record and will only result in a fine. 

Offenses that are charged as an infraction will not end up on your criminal record even if you plead guilty to it. You can think of an infraction as the equivalent of a traffic ticket. Traffic tickets only involve a fine and there is no potential for jail time. Whether you want professional help is only a matter of money or if you can’t show up to court yourself.  However, the opposite is true if there has been a charge of a misdemeanor.

What is the cost of a Public Urination Infraction Ticket?

The cost of an infraction public Urination ticket will differ upon the jurisdiction. The best way to find out is to go to your local courthouse and ask the clerks.  Many courthouses also list their court clerks phone number on their website and you can call them there. 

Public Urination as a Misdemeanor

Public Urination tickets can also be charged is as a misdemeanor.

Very Unlikely Chance of Jailtime Even If Convicted

This is another way to say there is potential jail time on your case. However, realistically unless you are on probation, a public urination will not result in a jail time. It is not a crime of violence and cities are only pushing arrest because residents have complained too much to their city council about public intoxication and the occasional violence that comes with drinking. 

Ignore that Thread on Reddit that Talks About Sex Registration for Public Urination

Despite what people read on Reddit, there is a very low to non existent chance that this charge will result in an indecent exposuredisorderly conduct, or mandatory registration on the sex offender registry. The biggest thing you have to worry about is the  potential for a public intoxication charge.

Whether or not you need a lawyer for your Public Urination Case will come down to where you want your case to end up.

If you want nothing but the best IE dismissal and a clean criminal record then it is advisable to find a lawyer on your case to fight the misdemeanor charge and avoid probation

Running a Specific Defense and tell Your Side of the Story 

If you wanted to present a defense saying that you relieving yourself in public is the result of a medical condition rather than alcohol consumption then you will need an attorney who is familiar with the city ordinance to fight the case. 

A Conviction for a Public Urination with An existing Criminal history may not be a Big Deal 

It really depends on your goal and the type of person you are. To some people, a criminal record does not matter. Lots of people already have criminal records in their background. If that’s the case then one more public urination misdemeanor will not matter much unless you are planning to clean out all your criminal record with expungements. If this is the case then it will be one more case you need to expunge so you can say you do not have any convictions on your record. 

Having a Clean Criminal Record Puts more at Stake. 

However, if you have a clean record then you may want to think twice about going in and taking a misdemeanor for your record. The privilege of having a clean record is that you can answer “No” in response to the question if you have ever been convicted of a crime in response to a misdemeanor crime. If you are charged with a misdemeanor public urination and have a clean criminal record then it is important that you get professional help for your case.

Skip Hiring an Attorney if You’re Only Worried about Jail. 

If your only goal is not to go to jail regardless then you won’t need the help of an attorney on your case. The chances are very high that you will be given a conviction and probation and you will go home with no jail time. Assuming you are not on probation the chances are you will be sent home with a fine. There is a very little chance that you will need to register as a sex offender and get probation with lewdness terms.  A criminal defense attorney will not be necessary to avoid these penalties. 

Does Public Urination Go on Your Record?
Public Urination stays on your record if it is prosecuted as a Misdemeanor. It’s important to check your citation to see which was circled. An “M” would mean misdemeanor and an “I” would mean infraction.

College Students and Public Urination

Pleading guilty on the first day is not advisable for college students as there are alternatives such as community service. In addition, pleading guilty to a misdeameanor may subject them to a student council administrative hearing at their schools.

student council proceeding has to do with academic integrity and fitness to be a student. However, in addition to charges of indecent exposuredisorderly conduct being a sex offenderlewdness can also trigger these proceedings. Below is an excerpt from Cal State Fullerton’s Student Council page. 


Academic Integrity isn’t the only thing our office enforces. Any of the behaviours below could also result in your referral to a member of the student conduct team:

  • Alcohol Misuse can cause many problems for students – behaviors such as underage drinking, drinking in public, drinking and driving, vandalizing property while intoxicated, engaging in fights, public urination, committing sexual assault, etc.

  • Inability to manage time or stress sometimes overwhelms students – resulting in verbal harassment, physical intimidation,  forging signatures on documents, or providing false information to the University.

  • Lack of judgment and failure to understand your responsibility to the community are easy ways to get off-track – behaviors like causing disruptions in class, in department offices, parking lots, or other public areas; possession of firearms or weapons, and allowing or encouraging midconduct from peers or guests.

  • Behavior within the campus community which violates local, state, or federal law – such as the use, possession, or sale of illegal drugs, theft, hazing, etc.

What are the problems Proving a Public Urination Case?

Many police officers will arrest a person or cite them for public urination when they think a person is relieving themselves.

Unsure if your charge is a misdemeanor or infraction? Reach out for a detailed analysis of your situation and learn the best steps forward.

Just Being in the Position Will be Enough for an Arrest but not a Conviction. 

This is independent of whether or not you were really relieving yourself or not. Most of the time the police will get it right, however, there are often times when a person will not be relieving themselves but get cited at the same time. This happens a lot when there are crowded areas and police are camping out in busy downtown areas.

Being Found in the Area Does not Mean They Have Enough Proof for a Misdemeanor Conviction. 

Police officers will know the usual spots, sit there and watch for suspicious people. Unfortunately what will happen is that people will go with friends and attempt to relieve themselves and not fully do it. When this happens an officer will roll up and cite the person.

For example, The police officer is watching John and Joe as they leave the bar. John and Joe are out drinking and it is 2am and they have left the bar and there are no restrooms. Joe goes to the garage to relieve himself and John needs to relieve himself too but hesitates. After watching Joe relieve himself, John decides to follow but only goes to unzipping his pants when he is stopped. He has not started the process yet but intends to start. The officer will light up both John an joe and cite both of them. However, only Joe is the one responsible for the crime, John has only attempted to urinate in public.

The State Must Prove You Guilty of a Misdemeanor Public Urination Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. 

Unless you admit guilt, In order to get a conviction against you for any type of misdemeanor the state will have to prove in front of 12 people that you committed a crime in front of 12 people.  This entails a burden on the system. This potential burden can be leveraged for the purpose of steering your case away from a misdemeanor. An attorney can take this leverage along with their knowledge of the local courthouse and it’s case load to get your a good deal on your case. 

  • 1) Preponderance of the evidence: A reasonable person thinks it is more likely that you are relieving yourself.
  • 2) Clear and convincing evidence: A reasonable person is pretty sure that you are relieving yourself.
  • 3) Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: There is no doubt that you are relieving yourself.
Orange County DUI - Burden of Proof
The prosecution must show guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Often times in Civil cases a preponderance of the evidence is good enough for guilt.




For more information on public urination

The nuances surrounding the criminalization of public urination emphasize the importance of being aware of local ordinances and understanding the potential consequences of one’s actions. While some jurisdictions might dismiss this act as a minor offense, others have stringent laws that can lead to lasting implications on an individual’s record. With the vast difference in how various states and cities view public urination, it becomes essential for individuals to be proactive, seeking legal counsel when necessary and ensuring they’re fully informed about their rights and possible defenses. So, the next time you think, “When you gotta go, you gotta go,” remember the potential ramifications and consider your choices carefully.

I got a ticket for public urination in California, they marked it as a misdemeanor. What can I expect

When you gotta go, you gotta go. What is your public urination gone wrong story


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Hand down the best attorney I have ever worked with!!! My friend recommended Hieu because I needed to expunge something I did when I was young and dumb. Hieu is very humble, personable, and made me feel very comfortable. He's surprisingly funny too. Something not all lawyers are / can do. His pricing is very reasonable and he updated me on everything frequently. I highly recommend him!!!!

Lila K

I had interviewed many attorneys to discuss my very unfortunate situation that was set by someone I knew. Hieu Vu was the most honest, caring, and professional attorney with compassion and empathy I ever interviewed. HE REALLY HAD A HEART. His fees were very reasonable and he will fight for you not just for your dollars but because he cares for his clients... I would strongly recommend him if you feel your life is upside down. Things happen but we learn to become better person.

Mark K

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