Posted on April 25, 2016

Los Angeles Public Urination Charges – Penal Code 647 PC

Public urination is generally regarded as disorderly conduct under PC 647 as well as described as a public nuisance under PC 370. Over time, courts have held that urinating in public is injurious to the public health, indecent, and offensive to the senses of an ordinary person. Moreover, the government prosecutes offenders under the rational of public urination as being an interference with the public’s right to a decent society and to use the streets without having bodily discharge of urine on a busy commercial street.

Although commonly charged under PC 647, there is no precise statute defining public urination as criminal under the California Penal Code. As a result, many localities impose their own municipal codes defining the charge. For example, Los Angeles Municipal Code 41.47.2 governs the charge of urinating or defecating in public and provides:

“No person shall urinate or defecate in or upon any public street, sidewalk, alley, plaza, beach, park, public building or other publicly maintained facility or place, or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view, except when using a urinal, toilet or commode located in a restroom, or when using a portable or temporary toilet or other facility designed for the sanitary disposal or human waste and which is enclosed from public view.”

Normally those cited for this offense are embarrassed to stand in front of the court. Hence, if you hire private counsel, your presence in court is not necessary. Your attorney can attend court on your behalf relieving you from any embarrassment.

What is the Punishment for Public Urination?

Public urination of wobbler offense, meaning you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or infraction. An infraction is far better because it does not carry any jail time if convicted. An infraction only carries a fine amount. A misdemeanor however, carries potential jail time and a period of probation. Although you should not expect a misdemeanor conviction to carry jail time unless you’re additionally charged with indecent exposure and/or you suffer from a prior criminal record. Typically, if this was your first offense and you were cited for a misdemeanor, your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the charge to an infraction, which is the equivalent of a speeding ticket but does not carry any point violation(s) on your driving record.

What are the Legal Defenses to Public Urination?

There are a number of defenses available to defeating this charge. If you were not directly observed urinating by the officer, then the case becomes much more difficult to prove. Especially if you were with a group of people. Additionally, you may have had to release yourself because of a medical emergency – e.g., you have a medical problem with your bladder. Furthermore, you could have been so intoxicated that you released yourself while you were unconscious or passed out.

Free Criminal Defense Consultation

If you’ve been arrested or cited for urinating in public in Los Angeles, contact Criminal Defense Attorney John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free confidential consultation.

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