Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 11, 2020

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If you were caught in the act of urinating in public by a police officer, it may be difficult to contradict the evidence of the sworn testimony of a public servant. But you can be sure that having an experienced criminal lawyer won’t hurt when you go to court. At the very least, a good criminal lawyer can help you receive the lightest possible sentence for your charge.

The chances of being found not guilty on a charge of public urination are not good, especially if a police officer caught you in the act. In most cases, the facts are just too simple, and the police officer’s testimony too straightforward, for even an experienced criminal lawyer to attack on cross-examination. On the other hand, perhaps the police officer merely heard a certain noise and smelled a certain odor, then saw you walking away from where he thought the noise originated. A skilled cross-examination just might create a small but reasonable doubt about whether you were actually the person who caused that noise, provided you didn’t admit guilt or act hopelessly guilty when you were arrested.

Criminal cases also frequently raise questions of illegal searches, especially when no search warrant exists, or of confessions where a person hasn’t been read his or her Miranda rights. A criminal defense attorney can file what is called a motion to suppress evidence, whether that evidence is a confession or physical evidence, or both. The motion almost always has to be accompanied by a legal brief, which includes references to precedent – past cases with similar facts in which judges stated the law in their decisions.

Even in public urination cases where there is very little that can be done to avoid a conviction, having a lawyer tells the judge that you take the charge seriously, and if you back that up by showing up for court on time, dressed in neat clothing, speaking respectfully and generally showing remorse for what you did, you’re probably going to get the minimum sentence, a small fine, and court costs. A judge usually has a fair amount of freedom in sentencing, and while no judge will admit it, many often take into account the fact that you will be paying your lawyer’s fees, and thus give you a lighter sentence.

If you are facing a charge for urinating in public, consult a criminal defense lawyer to discuss your options.