Local governments set the amounts of the fines. Many city and county criminal ordinances also prohibit public urination. This is not true for the homeless, whose numbers are increasing as services to help them area diminishing. A conviction for lewd conduct or disorderly conduct can have consequences, especially if you are charged again for such a crime and have this on your record. Criminal Penalties for Conviction State law usually classifies disorderly conduct and similar crimes as misdemeanors , which are less serious offenses than felonies.
Most defendants might also be able to prove that they did not contribute to the necessity—that they are not homeless by choice. Consider consulting with an experienced, local criminal defense attorney, who will know how such cases are typically handled in the court that will hear your case, and can advise you as to your options. In essence, the defense asks the judge or jury to balance two outcomes -- to weigh the harm to be avoided against the impact of the criminal act. See a Lawyer If you've been charged with public urination, do not dismiss it as an inconsequential matter. Local governments set the amounts of the fines. If convicted, these defendants face the onerous duty of registering as sex offenders , a sentence that will follow them for the rest of their lives. For information on public lewdness, see our article on Public Lewdness. Several states allow for such registration, including Arizona involving minors and repeat crimes , Ariz. No civilized person would accept either alternative. A harsher approach is to charge defendants with indecent exposure or public lewdness, which are crimes that may require convicted defendants to register as a sex offender. Public Urination and the Homeless: A conviction for lewd conduct or disorderly conduct can have consequences, especially if you are charged again for such a crime and have this on your record. But satisfying the requirements of the defense is not enough—a defendant must also convince the judge or jury that the harm to the defendant had he followed the law would have been greater than the harm to society that resulted in his not doing so. One either drops trou or messes oneself, with no chance to go home, clean up, and change clothes. Defendants may be charged under a law that specifically criminalizes the act, or the prosecutor may allege that the defendant presented a public nuisance or is guilty of disorderly conduct. Criminal Penalties for Conviction State law usually classifies disorderly conduct and similar crimes as misdemeanors , which are less serious offenses than felonies. This is not true for the homeless, whose numbers are increasing as services to help them area diminishing. Many city and county criminal ordinances also prohibit public urination. Penalties for a misdemeanor may include incarceration in county jail for up to a year, except in Ohio, which allows misdemeanor sentences to extend to two years , payment of a fine, and community service. Necessity as a Defense Laws prohibiting public urination may be relevant to drunk and carousing college students, but other than that, they rarely affect those who are adequately dressed, fed, and housed. Violations of local ordinances are generally punishable by fines, community service, or both. A defendant might be able to show that there were no public restroom alternatives. Never speak with the prosecutor or a prosecutor's investigator without having your lawyer at your side. Share on Facebook Urinating in public is illegal in every state. Public Urination and Sex Offender Registration Prosecutors occasionally charge defendants with the crime of indecent exposure or public lewdness. A homeless person who urinates in public might be able to satisfy the elements of a necessity defense.
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