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Public Urination Tickets in Texas: The Consequences of Peeing in Public

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Public Urination Laws in Texas

It’s a common scenario: someone is out late one night and decides to walk home. They notice that they really need to find a restroom but all of the stores and restaurants are closed. Thinking that they won’t be seen, they duck into an alley to relieve themselves. The next thing they know, a police officer is handing them a ticket.

Believe it or not, public urination is an offense in the state of Texas and a police officer may issue citations to violators caught in the act. It may not seem serious but the penalties that can come from a public urination tickets are no joke.

What’s The Law on Public Urination?

It’s true that urinating in a public place is illegal in Texas. In most cities and counties, the crime of public urination will be addressed by a local ordinance. This means that different cities may assign varying penalties for this act.

In some cities, there is a specific ordinance regarding public urination. In other places, public urination may be lumped into a broader criminal offense category. For example, in some cities, a person who is caught urinating in public may be charged with disorderly conduct or indecent exposure. This is very serious because these charges may include jail time or other penalties.

In some cases, it may be up to the court to decide how to prosecute these kinds of cases.

Penalties for Public Urination

Because cases of public urination are handled differently in different cities, the penalties for this offense can vary widely. For example, some cities, such as Houston, have a predetermined fine that can be levied for these cases. In Houston, the fine is $209. So, in some respects, an arrest for public urination may be similar to a traffic ticket.

In most locations, a public urination offense will be penalized with a small fine. However, in some cases, a judge may order a defendant to perform community service or even clean up the area where they relieved themselves. Repeat offenders may face higher fines or additional community service.

Public Urination and Sex Offender Charges

It is possible, in some cases, for a person who is caught during public urination to be charged as a sex offender. Under Texas law, a person who exposes their anus or genitals in a public place with reckless disregard may be charged with indecent exposure. The Texas Penal Code lists indecent exposure as a sexually based offense.

As a result, there is a possibility that that person might be ordered to register as a sex offender. This is not a typical outcome for public urination cases. However, a person who urinated in public when children were nearby or a person who is a repeat offender may face a greater chance of enhanced penalties.

Legal Defenses

In many cases, a defense attorney might advise a defendant to accept public urination charges and simply pay the fine and move on. However, if there are extenuating circumstances, the defense attorney might plead their client’s case to have the charges dropped. This is more likely in cases where the defendant has been charged with another offense, such as indecent exposure.

The defense attorney might argue that the defendant was simply in need of relief when no restrooms were available. They can argue that the defendant’s actions show urgency instead of any sexual motivation or reckless disregard for others. If a sexual intent or a reckless disregard cannot be proven, the prosecution might not be able to secure a conviction and the court may agree to drop or reduce the charges.

Because public urination charges can be prosecuted multiple ways, it’s important that you have a strong legal defense to protect you. Attorney Brett Podolsky has the knowledge and experience needed to help you. Contact his office today at  713-227-0087.

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