The Michigan Penal Code does not specifically identify urinating in public as a crime. This crime is frequently at the local level by for example, the local cities, villages, or townships. Michigan does have a statute in the penal code against indecent exposure. MCL 750.335a states:A person shall not knowingly make any open or indecent exposure of his or her person or of the person of another. Violation of the section is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both. If the person was fondling his or her genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if the person is female, breasts, while making the open or indecent exposure, then the punishment is increased to 2 years imprisonment or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both. The two year misdemeanor is considered a high court misdemeanor and in the nature of a felony. 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.
Michigan also has a statute punishing disorderly persons, which references indecent exposure. Under MCL 750.167, a disorderly person is 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. A disorderly person is also one that is engaged in indecent or obscene conduct in a public place. Either one of these could arguably apply to someone who urinates in public.
On the local level in Meridian Township, Michigan, the Charter Township of Meridian Code Sec. 50-111 address public nudity and indecency. The section makes it a crime to knowingly or intentionally in a public place engage in sexual intercourse; engage in deviate sexual conduct; or fondle the person’s genitals or the genitals of another person. It also makes it a crime to commit an act of public nudity and for any person owning or controlling a public place to knowingly or intentionally allow any person in such place to violate this law. In this section, “deviate sexual conduct” means an act involving: a sex organ of one person and the mouth or anus of another person; or the penetration of the sex organ or anus of a person by an object. The term “public nudity” means knowingly or intentionally displaying in a public place, or for payment or promise of payment by any person including, but not limited to, payment or promise of payment of an admission fee, any individual’s genitals or anus with less than a fully opaque covering, or a female individual’s breast with less than a fully opaque covering of the nipple and areola. The law excludes a woman’s breastfeeding of a baby whether or not the nipple or areola is exposed during or incidental to the feeding.
The Charter Township of Meridian Code Sec. 50-112 addresses spitting, urinating, and defecating specifically. It states that it shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly or recklessly spit, urinate, or defecate in any public place or on private premises without the consent of the owner or his tenant, agent, or employee, except where an approved sanitary facility is provided. An argument to make in defense of this crime is disability as where the person, due to a disability, violated this law because of necessity. One can argue an undersized bladder or kidney problems for example. An affidavit of a physician assist in proving this defense.
There is a question of whether a person who has been convicted of urinating in public must register on the Michigan Sex Offenders List. According to the Sex Offender Registry Act, the intent of the act was to better assist law enforcement officers and the people of this state in preventing and protecting against the commission of future criminal sexual acts by convicted sex offenders. A person who has been convicted of committing an offense covered by the is considered to pose a potential serious menace and danger to the health, safety, morals, and welfare of the people, and particularly the children, of Michigan. The registration requirements of this act are intended to provide law enforcement and the people of this state with an appropriate, comprehensive, and effective means to monitor those persons who pose such a potential danger.
Is someone who urinates in public a person who poses such a potential danger? The answer depends on the conviction as persons who have been convicted of a the following offenses must register:
(i) A violation of MCL 750.145a, 750.145b, and 750.145c, referring to accosting, enticing or soliciting a child for immoral purpose.
(ii) A violation of MCL 750.158, referring to crimes against nature or sodomy involving victims less than age 18.
(iii) A violation of MCL 750.335a, if the individual was previously convicted of violating section 335a referring to indecent exposure statute referenced above.
(iv) A third or subsequent violation of any combination of: Section 167(1)(f) referring to disorderly persons; section 335a(2)(a) referring to indecent exposure; or a local ordinance of a municipality substantially corresponding to a section described.
(v) A violation of MCL 750.338, 750.338a, and 750.338b, referring to gross indecency involving victims less than age 18.
(vi) A violation of MCL 750.349, referring to kidnapping involving a victim less than age 18.
(vii) A violation of MCL 750.350, referring to taking away or enticing a victim less than age 14.
(viii) A violation of MCL 750.448, referring to prostitution involving an individual less than age 18.
(ix) A violation of MCL 750.455, referring to pandering of prostitution.
(x) A violation of MCL 750.520b, 750.520c, 750.520d, 750.520e, and 750.520g, referring to rape crimes.
(xi) Any other violation of a law of Michigan or a local ordinance of a municipality that by its nature constitutes a sexual offense against an individual who is less than 18 years of age.
(xii) An offense committed by a person who was, at the time of the offense, a sexually delinquent person as defined in MCL 750.10a.
(xiii) An attempt or conspiracy to commit an offense described in subparagraphs (i) to (xii).
(xiv) An offense substantially similar to an offense described in subparagraphs (i) to (xiii) under a law of the United States, any state, or any country or under tribal or military law.
In Michigan, if the individual is convicted of a violation of the Charter Township of Meridian Code Sec. 50-112 addressing spitting, urinating, and defecating for example, since the conviction is not one that is identified herein-above, he will not have to register on the sex offender register. Persons charged with urinating in public should negotiate with prosecutors to charge them under laws that do not fit under the guise of the sex offender registry.