Public Urination In California

July 27, 2015

Public urination is defined under California Penal Code § 647. However, many municipalities, including Los Angeles, have their own statutes which police officers often arrest someone pursuant to. In fact, some cities and statutes label public urination as a public nuisance and/or disorderly conduct. Usually being cited or arrested for public urination occurs while or after consuming alcohol. For instance, walking home with friends from a local bar and urinating behind a tree or bush in a public park, or urinating on the golf course in some bushes while playing a game with colleagues. Depending upon the circumstances, the prosecutor may allege and charge someone with indecent exposure in addition to public urination. In that case, an indecent exposure conviction may lead to one having to register as a sex offender.

Public urination is a wobbler offense which means the prosecutor holds discretion to charge someone with an infraction, or elect to charge someone with a misdemeanor violation. Factors the prosecutor will consider are ones prior criminal history and the circumstances of the current case – i.e., did the violation occur during the day or evening; were children in the area; did the defendant urinate in bushes or in full open public view; etc. Fortunately, if you were convicted of misdemeanor public urination, you may be eligible to reduce your conviction to an infraction. Contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers to discuss your eligibility.


The consequences for urinating in public generally depend on which municipal code the prosecutor alleges as well as one’s prior criminal history. Although public urination can carry potential jail time if convicted, however it is not often given. In most instances, one can expect to pay a fine and be placed on probation. Depending on one’s conduct, the court may order rehabilitative classes or counseling and/or community service. If convicted of public urination as an infraction, one will not face any jail time but only a fine. If one is arrested and facing accusations of public urination, the best approach is to retain a skilled criminal defense attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor for diversion. In that instance, adjudication of the proceedings is temporarily stayed and upon successful completion of the diversion program, the case will ultimately be dismissed.

Public Urination Expungement

If you suffer from a public urination conviction, you may be eligible to expunge your record under California Penal Code § 1203.4. Upon successful petition, the court will reopen your case then withdraw its finding of guilt. Afterwards, the court will dismiss the case pursuant to P.C. § 1203.4 thereby releasing you from all “liabilities and penalties” as a result of the conviction. From that point forward, you will deemed statutorily rehabilitated and no longer convicted of the crime. There are a number of conditions that must be fulfilled in order to expunge your conviction. For instance, you must have completed probation with no violations and fulfilled all orders from the court – i.e., classes, payment of fine, restitution, etc. For more information, contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers to discuss your eligibility to expunge your record.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you have been arrested or charged with public urination, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers. Call (949) 625-4487 for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.

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