While most people support sex offender registration laws, many still fear the repercussions of getting labeled as a sex offender for a non-sexual act. One of the most common concerns is that simply urinating in public could be considered a sex crime, possibly ruining someone’s life for what should be a minor infraction. Because these types of crimes can be complex and are often up for debate, it is generally advisable to speak with a lawyer if you have any questions, but the good news is that in California, public urination is typically not considered a sex offense.
Peeing in Public and Sex Offenses
The good news is that in California, you probably won’t get charged with a sex crime simply for urinating in public. In fact, state law only specifically prohibits urinating in a public transportation vehicle. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can wander around urinating everywhere you go, particularly since city and counties may have more strict rules on the subject.
San Diego County actually outlaws urinating in any place open to the public or exposed to public view, and state law allows for public urination to qualify as disorderly conduct, a public nuisance or indecent exposure depending on the circumstances. Anyone accused of any of these offenses will only face misdemeanor criminal charges, punishable by no more than one year county jail time and often actually sentenced to probation with community service. That being said, it is still important that anyone charged with any of these crimes should speak with an attorney as soon as possible, but it is still worth noting that only one of these charges is considered a sex offense and that is indecent exposure.
Is Public Urination Considered Indecent Exposure in California?
Fortunately, while indecent exposure falls under the blanket of “sex crimes,” this charge is rarely applicable to those relieving themselves in public because the the law requires the prosecution be able to prove you willingly exposed yourself in public with the intent to bring attention to your genitals for the sexual motivation of yourself or another person. In other words, unless you were actively trying to get someone to look at your genitals while you relieved yourself in order to arouse yourself or someone else, you are not guilty of this offense.
If you are charged with this crime or any other though, it is absolutely critical you not discuss your case or say anything at all to the police or prosecution without first speaking to your attorney. A good lawyer may still be able to have the charges changed or reduced as long as you do not incriminate yourself by saying something that will hurt your case.