The New York Criminal Law Blog

Public Urination Laws in New York

Drinking in public has many related issues. And public urination is one of these issues. As a result, it’s no surprise that many states and cities work on addressing these issues. Just as public intoxication is a misdemeanor in many states, in some states or cities, public urination can lead to jail time. In others, it’s an infraction.

Interestingly, New York has no specific laws addressing public intoxication when dealing with alcohol. There are, however, laws governing public intoxication with substances other than alcohol.

By definition, public intoxication is a crime that involves the appearance of being intoxicated in a public place. Sounds vague, doesn't it? It can be. In some states, you don't even have to be drunk. You just have to look it.

But urinating in a public place can come with many legal challenges, even if there is no specific law regarding public intoxication. In New York, you can be cited for public urination. Under the Health Code, it can be a misdemeanor. Under the Administrative Code, it's a violation. In fact, public urination citations count for nearly half of the citations issued in summer months in New York City.

While it's not a huge deal in the big scheme of things, it can show up on your record. This record could subject you to more scrutiny in a job hunt or in immigration. As a result, you might want to consult with an attorney if you think the infraction will become a problem.

Public intoxication is not the only crime you could be charged with for urinating in public. If someone has publicly displayed their genitals, then they could be facing charges of indecent exposure.

If you've been cited for public urination, your best bet is to contact a lawyer to discuss your options.

Related Resources: