Public Urination Laws Primarily Affect the Homeless or the Inebriated
Public urination generally prohibits urination on any street, public facility, sidewalk, beach public building, alley, park or plaza. Urination on private property is also prohibited, if it is visible from a public place—meaning you can’t go out in your front yard to urinate if your front yard is visible from any public place—including the street.
Take Your Charges of Public Urination Very Seriously
If you have been charged with public urination in the city of Los Angeles, you need to take the charges very seriously. In some cases, those arrested for public urination could have attracted the attention of a police officer via other types of disruptive or illegal behaviors.
The state of California has both state and local laws which govern the offense of public urination. The offense of public urination was added into the California Penal Code in 2006, and is detailed under California Penal Code, Sections 640, 647, 370, 372 and 314. Los Angeles County Code, Section 11.16.050 discusses public urination, classifying it as a misdemeanor offense.
California Penal Code, Section 640, discusses urination inside public transportation—unless you are elderly or have a medical condition or disability which makes it impossible for you to wait to urinate. California Penal Code, Section 647, says public urination can be considered disorderly conduct, and California Penal Code, Sections 370 and 372 say public urination can be considered a public nuisance.
Perhaps the most serious charge regarding public urination can be found under California Penal Code, Section 314, which says a person caught publicly urinating may also be charged with indecent exposure and lewd behavior. While a misdemeanor, if convicted, you may be required to register as a sex offender—a sentence which could follow you for the remainder of your life.
Penalties Associated with Public Urination
Public urination in the city of Los Angeles is considered a wobbler, meaning it could be charged as an infraction or a misdemeanor, at the discretion of the prosecutor. If filed as an infraction, there will only be a trial by a judge, however if it is filed as a misdemeanor, you can choose to have a jury trial if you believe you stand a better chance of a dismissal with a jury. The penalties associated with public urination in the city of Los Angeles include the following:
- A maximum jail sentence of a year;
- A fine from $50 to $500, and
- Community service.
If you have a prior conviction for public urination, your penalties for your current charges are likely to be more severe. If you are convicted of public urination as an infraction, you will face only a fine, but no jail time. Aside from the criminal penalties you will face, you will also have a criminal record which could come back to haunt you when you apply for a job, attempt to obtain a professional license, or even try to rent an apartment.
Expunging Your Record for Public Urination
You may be eligible to have your conviction for public urination expunged from your record, under California Penal Code, Section 1203.4. If you are successful, the court will reopen your case, withdrawing its finding of guilt, and your case will be dismissed. This could be a benefit for obtaining a job in the future.
If you have been charged with public urination, take your charges seriously and contact an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.