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Arizona Public Urination Laws

It might be true that “nature calls” but peeing in a public place is no laughing matter in Arizona. Urinating where others can see you in a place other than a public restroom violates most city codes in Arizona and can result in charges of “disorderly conduct.” Disorderly conduct lawsuits in Phoenix are any activity that disturbs the peace of an individual, family, or community. The consequences of a conviction for what may seem like a small matter are not small and have life-long implications. A conviction for urinating in public (UIP) or disorderly conduct could result in jail time, fines, and a permanent criminal record that impacts your ability to gain employment and housing.

What Is Considered Urinating in Public In Arizona?

When an individual urinates in any place that’s visible or accessible to the public, they could be charged with disorderly conduct under public urination laws in Arizona. Closer scrutiny of these ordinances in court cases typically asks the question, “Could the individual have reasonably anticipated being observed by others during the act of urination?” If the answer is yes, then the individual is likely to be found guilty of disorderly conduct. A conviction for disorderly conduct due to public urination is a class-one misdemeanor.

It’s a common myth that a person caught urinating in public can face charges of “indecent exposure” and be compelled to register as a sex offender. While this is untrue, it does not mean that public urination charges should be taken lightly.

Examples of “Public Places” In Arizona

While many city ordinances use unique language to define “public urination” descriptions usually include the following examples as public places where urinating is prohibited:

  • On sidewalks
  • Against the side of public buildings
  • In alleys
  • In the street
  • On the beach
  • In public parks
  • In bus stops and public facilities
  • Private property that’s accessible to the public

If you have any doubts about whether or not it’s legal to urinate outside of a restroom designated for public waste elimination, it’s best to wait until you find a bathroom rather than risk serious criminal charges for a momentary thoughtless action.

Penalties for Public Urination in Arizona

Although urinating in public does not seem like a major criminal offense, a charge of disorderly conduct has serious repercussions upon conviction. Penalties for UIP are harsh. What’s more, some suspects unknowingly admit fault by paying a fine or citation, believing this is the easiest way to take care of an embarrassing matter. Unfortunately, paying the fine is an admission of guilt and results in a criminal record that appears to prospective employers or rental unit owners who perform basic background checks. Penalties include the following:

  • Up to six months in jail depending on the circumstances of the case and the discretion of the judge
  • Fines of up to $2,500
  • Up to three years of probation
  • Possible requirement to attend a mandatory educational program teaching offenders about social norms and the health concerns associated with public urination

A strong defense is critical when facing any criminal charge, including a charge of public urination and our Phoenix criminal law attorneys can help.

How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help?

A charge of urinating in public requires a swift, aggressive defense which could include showing that you have no criminal history, or that you thought you were in a place with no reasonable expectation of being observed. Another strong defense requires showing that you have a medical condition that may have made relieving yourself urgent and that you did your best to find a private location.

The UIP attorneys at Stewart Law Group understand that a seemingly small, common action can unexpectedly snowball into criminal charges, leaving you as the suspect shocked and vulnerable. If you’ve been charged with violating Arizona’s public urination ordinance, call Stewart Law Group today so we can take prompt action in your defense.