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Can Public Urination Be a 'Sex Offense'?

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

If you have been arrested for public urination, it's possible that you could be charged with a sex offense. Perhaps this will serve as more incentive to empty your bladder at the bar or restaurant before taking off.

Some may see public urination as a relatively harmless and victimless crime. After all, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

But in some cases, you could be charged with a sex offense and -- similar to pedophiles and child rapists -- be forced to register as a sex offender.

Generally, the crime of public urination involves just that: relieving oneself in public. Individuals may do this for a variety of reasons completely unrelated to voyeurism, threatening children, or anything sexual. For example, the simple fact is that at a lot of events there are a lot of beverages served, but just not enough toilets. As a result, revelers may be doing their business wherever they can.

In most states, public urination is a misdemeanor charge. Those faced with the charge pay a penalty and avoid jail time.

In contrast, a sex offense generally includes sexual acts against children. Besides acts like assaulting or molesting a child, a sex offense can also include crimes like exposing oneself to a child.

So if you urinate in public, and there are children around, you could potentially get charged with a sex offense in some states.

Whether someone is convicted of a sex offense will depend upon the laws in the jurisdiction. For example, if intent to commit a sex offense on a child is a necessary element of the crime, someone merely urinating in public may be exonerated of the charge. On the other hand, some jurisdictions make indecent exposure to a child a crime regardless of intent.

The penalties for a child sex offense are severe and embarrassing. You should consider working with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are charged with the crime.

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