Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Find a Lawyer

More Options

Yep, Public Urination is Illegal

By Andrew Chow, Esq. | Last updated on

As Cinco de Mayo approaches, it may be a good time to review one of the "No. 1" complaints associated with drinking holidays is: public urination.

It's a common complaint, made worse by a lack of public restrooms and exacerbated by holidays like this weekend's Cinco de Mayo, which many use as an excuse to get drunk. (Of course, the holiday actually commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862. But you probably already knew that.)

As you probably also know, public urination can lead to fines or even jail time, depending on where you choose to do the deed. And even in places where it's not technically illegal, you could still face charges.

In general, local jurisdictions can enact and enforce anti-public urination laws as a way to promote public health and safety. These laws can come in handy for police over Cinco de Mayo.

Laws that bar public urination can apply differently to different areas of town: There could be an all-out ban in a business or commercial district, for example -- but in a residential neighborhood, a private property owner could (theoretically, in places where it's allowed) give permission for someone to use his or her lawn as a latrine.

Public urination prohibitions also often come with caveats. Some cities' laws don't apply to young children, for example. Others also carve out exceptions for people who lack the physical or mental capability to control their bodily functions.

But in cities with such laws, a minor or impaired adult's parent, guardian, or caretaker may have to clean up after them, or face possible prosecution. That could lead to a citation, fines, or even a jail sentence.

Even if your city doesn't have a public urination law, cops could still bust you for indecent exposure, if they see your private parts flashed in public over Cinco de Mayo.

While some may find public urination funny -- like pop star Ke$ha, who tweeted a photo of herself urinating in the street last week -- an arrest can have serious effects. A few states may even require you to register as a sex offender after a conviction.

That's why you may want to consult a defense attorney to help fight a public urination charge and perhaps get it expunged from your record.

Related Resources:

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard