What to do about a public urination charge?

UPDATED: Feb 19, 2011

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What to do about a public urination charge?

I was charged with a public urination.  However I was not the one urinating. I was standing over a female friend whom I was with.  When she tried to tell the officer she was asked to stand aside and I was given the summons.  Should I just pay the fine or appear in court?  I appreciate your time and input on this matter.

Asked on February 19, 2011 under Criminal Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, you need a criminal law attorney to represent you here.  You have a defense and it needs to be skillfully presented by experienced counsel.  Hire one that practices in the court in question.  They can utilize their local contacts to your best advantage - either in their negotiations with the prosecutor or in their appearance before the judge.

The fact of the matter is that in NY when you are issued a summons for public urination you are being charged with a misdemeanor (punishable by up to 1 year in jail).  However generally, the charge can be dismissed in exchange for a plea to a violation (punishable by not more than 15 days in jail) and payment of a fine. Additionally, a conviction for a misdemeanor will become part of your criminal record.  Violations, on the other hand, do not become a part of your criminal record.  However, the can have other possible negative consequences that should be considered; in particular those who hold professional licenses (or hope to) should be fully informed as to the possible ramifications of such a charge. 

While public urination may seem like a minor matter, it has potentially serious consequences.  Again, a criminal defense lawyer will understand the legal process and can explain to you all of your options.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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