LawRefs Customized Legal Information
Attorney Renee C. Walsh

Urinating in Public


Look to the city, village, or township codes to find Urinating in Public, or “UIP”, a crime.

  • Indecent Exposure:  The State of Michigan has a statute against “indecent exposure”.  MCL 750.335a states that a person shall not knowingly make any open or indecent exposure of his or her person or of the person of another.  There is a 1 year / $1000 misdemeanor and a high court (treated in the nature of a felony) 2 year / $2000 misdemeanor.  A sexually delinquent person can be punished for an indeterminate term, the minimum of which is 1 day and the maximum of which is life.
  • Disorderly Persons:  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 apply to someone who urinates in public.
  • Public Nudity:  On the local level, such as in Meridian Township, Michigan, the Charter Township of Meridian Code Sec. 50-111 address public nudity and indecency.  Sec. 50-112 addresses spitting, urinating, and defecating specifically.

“Sex Offender”:  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 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.

Defense:  Those charged could consider the defense of 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 assists in proving this defense.

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.


  1. Recently, I was walking home from the bars and stopped at a Jack in the Box whose restroom was closed. I made the stupid decision to pee behind a dumpster out of view for no more than 20 seconds. There were numerous pee stains on the wall from other people. When I came out two officers on bikes were approaching me and stopped me. I denied peeing and said I was throwing something away and missed. They looked at the multiple pee stains behind the dumpster and said I had drops of pee on my shoe, but the drops were barely visible if at all, and could have been from drinks. I am sure that they did not see me in the act so do I have a chance fighting it?

  2. I am a private investigator and required to sit in my vehicle all day and watch for people. My employer REQUIRES I urinate and defecate in my vehicle so as to not leave the site. Does this not constitute the ‘public’ and therefore, illegal??

    • Dear Craven M.:

      If someone sees you or could see you, then yes, the conduct is likely to be considered indecent or obscene, and therefore, illegal. Your employer could be held responsible as an accomplice as well.

  3. I received a citation in February for UIP. I was intoxicated and had my friend who had not been drinking drive me home. It was 4am and we weren’t near my house so I asked him to let me out so I could pee. 2 miles later the cop pulled us over said he was swerving and said he saw me peeing. He said to pay the ticket and it won’t go in my record. The ticket is 350 dollars and it’s an ordinance. What can I do in my defense?

    • Dear Darius:

      A red flag went up when you described that the officer stated that he saw your friend, who had not been drinking, swerving. If it is true that your friend was not drinking, then perhaps the police officer did not have probable cause to pull him over. Also, a UIP would stay on your record, so without more information, it is unclear what the officer is promising when he says that it won’t if you pay. In your defense, you may respond to the ticket with not responsible or not guilty, as applicable, ask for an attorney at the first hearing, and see what discovery yields and how much negotiating power you may have.