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Urinating In Public Is A Criminal Offense

The lawyers at Matthew Lopez Law, PLLC, have handled hundreds of urinating in public cases in Tempe.

Because of the nightlife associated with Tempe police are regularly patrolling alleyways for people who are urinating. Although it may seem harmless to urinate in a dark, quiet area, Tempe has made it a crime to urinate in public (UIP), even though there may not be anyone else around or whether anyone other than the police officer saw the offender. In fact, there are police officers specifically assigned to patrolling the area to uphold urinating in public laws.

Penalties For Urinating In Public

The worst mistake you can make after receiving a citation for urinating in public is to either disregard the citation or simply just pay the fine. The officer and the court staff will take advantage of your lack of knowledge of Arizona law by downplaying the severity of your offense. Although the citation you receive may seem like nothing more than a traffic ticket, it is a criminal complaint, and you are now being charged with a criminal offense. Once you are charged with an offense, your urinating in public charge will appear on a criminal background search. If you simply pay the fine, even though it may only be a few hundred dollars, you are admitting guilt and will be convicted of a crime. This means, that when you are applying for a job, urinating in a public conviction will appear on your criminal history. Urinating in public is a serious offense that may significantly affect your future employment opportunities.

Crafting A Strong Defense For Your Case

We know how to effectively investigate a case and present your side of the story to the court in an effort to get your case dismissed. Even if you feel that you were caught in the act and you are guilty, our attorneys are experienced in crafting unique defenses to help even the guiltiest clients avoid a criminal conviction.

Costs And Benefits Of Hiring A Lawyer For A UIP Charge

Our law office charges a modest, flat fee for UIP cases. There are no hidden fees. We are straight and to the point. Hiring our office to defend your case is a smart investment. In some cases, we are able to resolve your case without you ever having to set foot in a courtroom. In addition to saving you time, our ultimate goal is to keep this charge off your record so that it will not affect any of your future career or education opportunities.

FAQ About Facing Urinating In Public Charges In Arizona


In Arizona, is urinating in public the same as indecent exposure?

Urinating in public and indecent exposure are two very different charges.  Most cities have a special city code that criminalizes urinating in public, while there is a specific Arizona law that relates to indecent exposure. At our firm, the majority of calls we receive are for urinating in public. A person will receive a urinating in public charge if they were caught urinating or attempting to urinate in somewhat of a discreet place, including behind bushes, in an alleyway or around a dumpster.

If a person is caught urinating or attempting to urinate in a more public setting, they may be charged with indecent exposure. Common situations we encounter are people urinating outside a line to get into a club or bar, by a restaurant, or in a parking garage.

If you live out of state, we will be able to resolve your urinating in public charge without you having to come back to Arizona. If you have been charged with indecent exposure, we should be able to resolve your case without you having to return, but Arizona law requires everyone charged with indecent exposure to submit to a DNA sample – this must be completed in Arizona.

The penalties for indecent exposure are significantly harsher than urinating in public. Depending on your criminal history, we may be able to negotiate a dismissal of your urinating in public charge.

Is urinating in public in Arizona a felony or misdemeanor charge?

Urinating in public is a misdemeanor in Arizona. If convicted, you will forever have a misdemeanor conviction on your record.  This could prove embarrassing if you’re applying for a new position, promotion or trying to further your education. Although the fine for urinating in public is nominal, clients hire us so they can protect their personal background history.

What are the punishments or penalties for public urination in Arizona?

Generally speaking, the penalties for urinating in public are relatively nominal.  If convicted, expect to receive a fine, community service and possible counseling.  Clients who hire our office are not typically concerned with the fines. They are more concerned with having a permanent criminal conviction for urinating in public.  Our attorneys will thoroughly review the facts in your police report to unveil a defense that could result in a complete case dismissal or negotiate a dismissal in exchange for completing a small amount of community service hours or online coursework.

Will I have to register as a sex offender in Arizona if charged with public urination?

It is a common misconception that you will have to register as a sex offender if convicted of urinating in public.  If, however, you are convicted of indecent exposure, you MAY have to register.  When we have clients who are charged with indecent exposure, if we cannot find a way to have their charge completely dismissed, the next best outcome would be a reduction to urinating in public. This reduction would prevent our client from having to register as a sex offender.

Can I get out of public urination charges if I admit I was drunk?

Most of the clients we represent for urinating in public had been drinking at a bar or nightclub.  Unfortunately, being intoxicated is not a legal defense in Arizona.  If a person has a clean criminal history, our attorneys can argue that the mistake of urinating public was made because they were intoxicated – in this situation, it’s more of a mitigation defense.  We can then tell the Court that it will never happen again, our client has learned their lesson, and cannot have a criminal conviction on their record.  If all these facts are taken into consideration, we may be able to negotiate a resolution that will result in a dismissal in exchange for paying a small fine or attending online coursework.

Can I use “necessity as a defense” in Arizona for a public urination charge?

One of the more common justifications our attorneys hear for urinating in public is that the accused really had to go and the line for the club or bar was too long, or there weren’t any available Porta Potty facilities.  Full disclosure, the courts hear this reasoning all the time – it will not result in a case dismissal.  The better approach is to hire a lawyer who can paint the larger picture for you.  We work closely with our clients to gather resumes, school transcripts and letters of recommendation to show the court they are not the type of person who commits “crimes,”  that this was a one-time occurrence, and that if given the opportunity to earn a dismissal, it will never happen again.

Learn more at our Criminal Defense FAQ page.


Talk To Our Attorneys For Free

Our attorneys are more than happy to speak to you for free regarding your case and discuss how we can work together to achieve a favorable resolution. Call our offices at 602-960-1731 or email the firm to set up a confidential appointment.