As anyone who has attended a concert or sporting event and had some beer knows, it can be hard to find an open porta-potty. Your Youngstown OVI lawyer will caution you against going in the bushes or behind your car to relieve yourself.
Ohio law does not give a strict definition of either public urination or public defecation. If you are caught doing one of these in public, you’ll probably be charged with disorderly conduct, instead. Being ticketed for this charge can be embarrassing, especially once it becomes known exactly what you were charged for. Those around you will probably make fun of you. They may even become angry at you, especially your family and friends. If you were urinating on the neighbor’s flowers or in their yard, it could destroy any good relationship you had with them.
If you happened to do the deed near a playground, school, or child care facility, your charges will be worse and will come with consequences that will alter your life’s path.
You can be considered to have publicly defecated or urinated in any of the following situations:
- You went anywhere on private property that wasn’t intended to be a bathroom. (Remember the neighbor’s flowers?)
- You went anywhere on public property. This could be a yard, a street, park, sidewalk, alley, or anywhere else considered to be public.
- You went on a floor, staircase, wall, doorway, hall, or any other physical property that was not meant to be used as a bathroom in a publicly owned building or a building open to be used by the public.
The severity and level of your charges will depend on the circumstances of your case and the facts involved. At a minimum, your charges will be a simple misdemeanor. You’ll pay a fine of up to $150 but serve no jail time. At the worse, your charges will be a misdemeanor of the third degree. You’ll pay a fine of at least $150 but maybe more, and will have to serve a jail sentence of up to 60 days.
There are defenses available to most people charged with this crime. The most common is probably that it was necessary. For example, if you are stuck on an interstate for four hours between exits and you leave your car to urinate in the woods alongside the highway, it was necessary for you due to the danger of illness or injury from holding it in and the fact that there were no bathrooms available to you. This doesn’t mean you weren’t wrong for going in the woods to do your business. You will have to prove you acted in good faith, believing it was necessary, did not cause a bigger issue than the one you prevented, and that you had no alternative. However, public policy has long been that a defendant asks the judge to weigh the illegality against the circumstances.
It’s important for you to hire a Youngstown OVI lawyer even for a minor misdemeanor like public urination charged as disorderly conduct. If you are convicted, you will have a criminal record that will follow – and haunt – you the rest of your life. A criminal record of any kind can keep you out of housing and jobs that you want, and limit promotions and educational opportunities. If you are an immigrant, a criminal record could make staying in this country or becoming a citizen more difficult. A good attorney can get your charges dropped or reduced, even minor ones like disorderly conduct.
It is possible to get your record expunged after a set period of time has gone by. Usually, this is one year after the day your case was discharged. This is also a stressful and time-consuming process, and you’ll have to go back to court to get it completed.
Sean Logue of Logue Law Group is familiar with DUI laws and DUI defense, having represented hundreds of clients charged with DUI-related offenses. Logue Law Group is available to serve you all day, every day at (412) 612-2210. Call now.