Public Urination Attorneys in Michigan
Getting caught urinating in public can be very embarrassing, but having a criminal charge for indecent exposure is much worse. There are many circumstances when a person may be susceptible to being caught urinating in public. If you have ever tailgated at a college football game, then you may have found yourself amongst tens of thousands of people without an available bathroom in sight. In these situations, a person may be inclined to take their chances and relieve themselves in an area that seems otherwise inappropriate. However, if you are caught, then you could be facing serious charges of disorderly conduct, public indecency, or a municipal ordinance against public urination. You need an attorney for public urination to help navigate the criminal justice system.
Popular Misconceptions About Urinating in Public in Michigan
There are two popular misconceptions in Michigan. First, that there is a state law for urinating in public known as a “UIP,” however, actually there is no state law specifically for urinating in public. Instead there are other laws for disorderly conduct and indecent exposure that a person caught for urinating in public will typically be charged for in Michigan. However, there are local ordinances for public urination depending on what county you are being charged in. Many cities such as Ann Arbor have local ordinances for public urination. The second misconception is that being charged for disorderly conduct or indecent exposure for urinating in public will land a person on the sex offender list. A first-time indecent exposure or disorderly conduct conviction will not require a person to register as a sex offender. Having to register as a sex offender is highly unlikely without circumstances that exacerbate the severity or the situation, or having a prior sex crime on your record.
Indecent exposure is the more serious of the charges that may be used by the prosecution of a person who has been caught urinating in public by law enforcement. A straight forward indecent exposure conviction does not carry a sex offender registration requirement. However, if someone saw you relieving yourself in a bush and said that you were fondling yourself, then you could be charged with aggravated indecent exposure. Aggravated indecent exposure does include a mandatory registration as a tier I sex offender under the Sexual Offender Registration Act (SORA) if the victim who witnessed the offense was a minor. Additionally, if someone were to see you fondling yourself after relieving yourself in a bush, and happen to notice that you were masturbating, then you could be charged with aggravated indecent exposure while being sexually deviant. This also could require that a person register as a sex offender under the Sexual Offender Registration Act (SORA).
So being charged with disorderly conduct or indecent exposure may not place you on the sexual offender list by themselves, but they are still serious crimes that you do not want on your record. The first goal in these situations is to avoid having charges filed altogether. The secondary objective is to prepare for trial and win your case. Crimes like indecent exposure are sexual in nature and have a negative social stigma attached, so it is essential to keep these charges off of your record. Contact us online or call now at 1-800-883-2138 for your free consultation.
Most offenses involving urinating in public are charged as disorderly conduct or under a local ordinance, but in some circumstances maybe charged under the more serious statute of indecent exposure. A “disorderly person” is defined as a person engaged in indecent or obscene conduct in a public place. MCL 750.167 is a broad statute with several definitions of behavior and conduct that may qualify him or her as a disorderly person, for instance, window peepers, common prostitutes, or a person engaged in indecent or obscene conduct in a public place. If you are caught urinating in public, then you could be charged under MCL 750.167(1)(f) for the disorderly conduct of engaging in indecent exposure in a public place. A conviction under this law is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 90 days imprisonment and a $500 fine.
Michigan also has a separate indecent exposure law under MCL 750.335a that a person caught urinating in public can be charged with. The law has two levels of severity. The first is for any person who knowingly makes any open or indecent exposure of him or herself to another person. If you are found guilty, then you can receive up to one-year imprisonment and a $1000 fine. This crime is a misdemeanor and if you are convicted, then you will have an indecent exposure misdemeanor on your record.
A person can also be charged with aggravated indecent exposure under the same statute. This is characterized by not only exposure of one’s genitals, but also fondling the genitals while they are exposed. This could include masturbation, but is also defined as the fondling of the pubic area, buttocks, or breasts. If the police or prosecution believe that you were engaged in such lascivious behavior, then you could be facing the much more serious charge of aggravated indecent exposure. This crime is still a misdemeanor, but the maximum punishment is enhanced to the possibility of two years in prison and a $2000 fine.
The most serious indecent exposure charge under MCL 750.335a is aggravated indecent exposure while being sexual delinquent. This would be a situation where a person was masturbating in public. This law has a very peculiar sentencing guideline that has been hotly contested in the courts. It specifies that if a conviction is entered, “the minimum sentence is one day in jail and the maximum is life in prison.” This is a very serious charge and if you are facing it, it is essential to obtain expert legal representation, because it has the possibility of life in prison. However, you may be interested to learn that after a long line of cases, the Michigan Court of Appeals in People v. Arnold, 502 Mich 438, 444 (2018), overruled People v. Campbell, 316 Mich App 279 (2016), and several other prior cases by deciding that the statutory language did not require a person to be sentenced to a minimum of one day in prison. Instead, it is merely available as an enhanced sentence.
If you are concerned that you may be charged with being a disorderly person, indecent exposure, or aggravated indecent exposure, then it is imperative you contact Grabel & Associates immediately. These matters are time sensitive, because you want to get out in front of the charges and prevent them from ever being filed. Therefore, if you have been arrested or detained by the police in any situation that might resemble one of the crimes described above, then you should immediately seek the best professional counsel available. It is possible to preempt the prosecutor from ever filing charges and avoiding anything going on your record.
If you have already been charged with urinating in public under either the disorderly person, indecent exposure laws, or a municipal ordinance then you should quickly contact Grabel & Associates, because it is necessary to not only communicate with the prosecutor, but also to review the police reports and prepare evidence. Ultimately, we want to be as well prepared as possible to get the charges dismissed completely. Or, if necessary, take your case to trial and win to avoid ever having this charge on your record. Call Grabel & Associates at 1-800-883-2138 today to schedule your free consultation.