December 25

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

Public Urination


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

Details how a person should approach a Public Urination Charge in Downtown Fullerton
Downtown Fullerton is known for public urination

Public Urination is a crime that borders between infraction and misdemeanor. Officers will often say to show up to court as it ust falls under the catagory of minor offenses. However people are surprised they are dealing with a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor will stay on your criminal record. This criminal record is run every time you apply for a job. In addition to that there are many job applications which 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.

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 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 Calfornia up 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

When Does Public Urination Go on Your Record?

I am often asked the question of When Does Public Urination Go on Your Record? 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. The 3 main level of burden of proofs are 1) Preponderance of the evidence, 2) Clear and Convincing, and 3) Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

  • 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.
    The prosecution must show guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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

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


Public Urination as an infraction

What is the cost of a Public Urination Ticket?

If your offense is charged as an infraction then this is good news. 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 a infraction as the equivalent of an traffic tickets. Traffic tickets only involve a fine and there are no potential for jail time thus there is not much of a need for professional help. However, the opposite is true if there has been a charge of a misdemeanor.

Do I need a lawyer for public urination

Whether or not you need a lawyer 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 find council on your case to fight the misdemeanor charge and avoid probation.  If you wanted to present a defense saying that you releiving yourlself in public is the result of a medical condition rahter than alcohol consumption then you will need an attorney to who is familiar with the city ordinance to fight the case. 

Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Public Urination Charge?

It really depends on your goal and 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.

However, if you have a clean record then you may want to think twice about going in and taking a misdemeanor for your record.

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, there is 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. 

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.

Public Urination as a Misdemeanor

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

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  potntial for a public intoxication charge. A misdemeanor will go on the defendant‘s criminal record. Your criminal record will follow you everywhere you go. This includes jobs you apply for and licenses you apply for. A 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

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 Studens and Public Urination

Pleaing guilty on the first day  is not advisable for college students as there are alternatives such as community service. In addition pleaing guilty to a misdeameanor may subject them to a student council administrative hearing  at their schools. A student council proceeding has to do with academic integrity and fitness to be s astudent. However, in addition charges of indecent exposuredisorderly conduct being a sex offenderlewdness can also trigger these prooceedings. 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 behaviors 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, commiting 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 judgement and failure to understand your responsiblity 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.

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.

What are the problems with 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. 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.

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 yet 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.

  • 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

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

About the author 

Hieu Vu

HIeu Vu is a Criminal Defense attorney and the Owner of the Law Office of Hieu Vu. His office is located in Tustin California and has familiar with and have had trials in the Harbor Justice Center, Fullerton, Westminster and Santa Ana Courthouses. In addition to being rated as one of the best DUI Attorney in Orange County, he also believes in delivering the best customer service and making sure the client makes it thru the criminal justice system intact.

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