Indecent Exposure and Urinating in Public

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Urinating in a public place can be charged as a misdemeanor under local city or township ordinances, pursuant to Michigan’s Indecent Exposure Statute (MCL 750.335a), or under the general Disorderly Conduct Statute  (MCL 750.167). The crime “urinating in a public place” can be misused by the police and lead to negative connotations associated with deviancy or sexual misconduct. A conviction on a person’s record leads to undeserved misunderstandings and possibly labels the person as a weirdo or trouble maker. Let us explain how we fight and win to avoid the stigma associated with this crime when it is a case involving medical emergency or a client is eligible for substantial break under the law.

Detroit, Royal Oak, St. Clair Shores, Utica: Areas with active night-life get most disorderly conduct cases.

The police tend to be on the lookout for misconduct such as urinating in public, disorderly conduct and public intoxication in areas where bars are in close proximity to residential areas. Therefore, we see a greater number of persons charged with this crime in places like Detroit, Royal Oak, St. Clair Shores or downtown Utica where many bars are located within a confined geographical area.  By far,  Royal Oak and Detroit top the list of places where our clients face charges for public intoxication and urinating in public.

Embarrassment and Stigma Associated with the Crime Indecent Exposure

In our experience, the court system has an open mind for those charged with urinating in a public place that do not have a criminal record and the circumstances of the case can be explained. Here are a few of the dispositions that we have utilized in the Macomb County District Courts:

  • Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) for offenderrs who are age 17 but under age 24.
  • Delayed sentence for adults with a dismissal after a period of compliance pursuant to MCL 771.1.
  • A substantial reduction to a non-criminal traffic violation.
  • Dismissal upon production of medical documentation for those suffering from frequent urination.

Whenever it is appropriate, we may argue “medical emergency” for a person who gets caught urinating in public. There are many conditions that can lead to frequent urination including: enlarged prostate, urinary tract infections, overactive bladder and diabetes.

Our goal, as Macomb County criminal defense lawyers, is to avoid a conviction for any crime which can cause lifelong embarrassment and misconceptions. Indecent exposure or urinating in public (misdemeanor crimes) certainly qualify as crimes that nobody wants on their permanent record.

“Disorderly Person” and “Indecent Exposure” Statutes

MCL 750.167: Disorderly Person

(1) A person is a disorderly person if the person is any of the following:

(a) A person of sufficient ability who refuses or neglects to support his or her family.

(b) A common prostitute.

(c) A window peeper.

(d) A person who engages in an illegal occupation or business.

(e) A person who is intoxicated in a public place and who is either endangering directly the safety of another person or of property or is acting in a manner that causes a public disturbance.

(f) A person who is engaged in indecent or obscene conduct in a public place.

(g) A vagrant.

(h) A person found begging in a public place.

(i) A person found loitering in a house of ill fame or prostitution or place where prostitution or lewdness is practiced, encouraged, or allowed.

(j) A person who knowingly loiters in or about a place where an illegal occupation or business is being conducted.

(k) A person who loiters in or about a police station, police headquarters building, county jail, hospital, court building, or other public building or place for the purpose of soliciting employment of legal services or the services of sureties upon criminal recognizances.

(l) A person who is found jostling or roughly crowding people unnecessarily in a public place.

MCL 750.335a: Indecent Exposure

Sec. 335a. (1) A person shall not knowingly make any open or indecent exposure of his or her person or of the person of another.

(2) A person who violates subsection (1) is guilty of a crime, as follows:

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b) or (c), the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by

imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(b) If the person was fondling his or her genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if the person is female, breasts,

while violating subsection (1), the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not

more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.

(c) If the person was at the time of the violation a sexually delinquent person, the violation is punishable by

imprisonment for an indeterminate term, the minimum of which is 1 day and the maximum of which is life.




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