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After you sober up, it can seem amusing or embarrassing to have been arrested for urinating in public. But having a conviction for that offense on your record can have long-term consequences. Though the actual penalty you incur may not be significant, you may be excluded from certain occupations, particularly those involving children.
If you have received a public urination ticket or been arrested for another alcohol-related crime, you should think twice about pleading guilty. I am J.B. Katz, a defense advocate with extensive experience in so-called “nuisance” crimes such as public urination, public intoxication and disorderly conduct. As your criminal defense attorney, I can work to minimize the consequences of the charge and if possible, obtain either a dismissal of the charge or reduction to a lesser charge that carries less stigma. After the resolution of your case, I may be able to obtain an expungement or sealing of your record, which can prevent potential employers from learning about the event.
What is Defined as Public Urination?
Public urination may sound like it’s not a big deal, but it’s a crime that can carry up to ten days in jail and a $300 fine. Under Colorado law, public urination falls under the crime of public indecency, as it amounts to exposing one’s genitals to someone else in a way that is likely to cause affront of alarm. As stated in the name, to be convicted of public urination, it must be done in a public place or where it is reasonably expected to be seen by a member of the public.
It’s important to note that you don’t need to know that you were in a public place in order to be convicted of this crime. It is a strict liability crime, meaning there is no requirement that you intended to commit the act in a public place affront or alarm a member of the public. You also don’t need to be aware that the public can see you.
Also keep in mind that if you are convicted of public indecency two or more times, the charge becomes a class 1 misdemeanor. If charged as a class 1 misdemeanor, you could face up to 2 years in jail and could be required to register as a sex offender.
In the past, one public indecency conviction for urinating in public could lead to a person having to register as a sex offender. Fortunately, that was changed in 2010.
Legal Defenses & What a Breckenridge Lawyer Can Do to Help
Public indecency sounds like it would be an easy charge to prove. If you are urinating in public, you will be convicted. However, it’s important to realize that there are a few elements of the crime that must be proven. In addition to urinating in public, you must also have exposed your genitals to someone in a way that is likely to cause affront or harm. While there’s no requirement that the accused know they are in public, it will have to be proven that they knew they were exposing their genitals. Perhaps they were urinating in public, but they were mostly concealed and no one could have possibly seen their genitals. Your attorney could use this as a way to defend you.
Another way to defend against this crime is to attack a witness’s credibility. Your lawyer can do this by questioning what the witness really saw, trying to show they are being dishonest, or simply arguing that their memory is incorrect.
One of the most important things your criminal defense attorney can do in this situation is negotiate with the prosecutor. If there doesn’t seem to be a valid defense, your lawyer will still defend your rights. This will try to get evidence suppressed or present evidence or reasons to the prosecutor showing why the case should be dismissed or why you don’t deserve a hefty punishment.
The Problem With Punishing Public Urination
While this law was likely intended to punish drunk college students and other individuals who are under the influence, the unfortunate reality is the people it affects most are the homeless population. Many people who are unhoused don’t have the option to go find a bathroom. Their only good option becomes urinating in public (and trying to stay out of sight), and this often leads to the police questioning and arresting them.
Protect Your Future, Get Legal Representation
I can represent you on a public urination charge without your need to appear in court. You can be assured that while I am representing you, your rights and interests will be protected. Whenever possible, I will seek to obtain a dismissal of the charge. Alternatively, I can seek to negotiate a disorderly conduct charge instead. This charge carries far less stigma, and it will be much easier to explain this away if you are ever asked about it. A small investment in legal fees now can help you avoid problems down the road. Get legal help today.
You Need A Lawyer To Help You Understand Your Options
As your attorney, I will be able to explain to you what I can do to best protect your interests. To arrange a free consultation, please call my Breckenridge office at (970) 453-5533 or send me an email. I represent locals, students and tourists who live in or visit the Colorado mountains region.