It’s a nightmare scenario; it’s the thing people fear when they consider the sex offender registry. You desperately need to find a restroom, but there are none around. You find a place you think is secluded, and when you’re done, you find a police officer giving you a hard stare. Could this really happen? Can you become a sex offender over public urination?
What is Texas' Public Urination Law?
Yes, in the state of Texas public urination is illegal and the charges for it vary by jurisdiction. Normally though public urination is charged as disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct is a Class C misdemeanor which comes with a fine of $500 or less. If the police see you taking care of business, they are supposed to hand you a ticket. However, a ticket does not necessarily translate to joining the sex offender registry.
While public urination is a crime in Texas, it is not necessarily a sexual offense. That said, local jurisdictions have the option to pass city codes that increase the severity of the state crime. For example, a city may deem public urination a form of indecent exposure. That would be considered a sexual offense that puts someone at risk of being added to the sex offender registry.
Sex Offender Registry
While public urination is a minor crime, usually requiring community service or a fine, exposure is completely different. If the responding officer determines that you “exposed your anus or genitals with reckless disregard,” they may arrest you for indecent exposure.
Joining the sex offender registry is uncommon for a first-time public urination offense. However, it’s more likely that repeat offenders will receive harsher penalties.
In any case, you shouldn’t take any chances when it comes to the Texas sex offender registry. That’s why it’s always a good idea to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney when facing potential sexual offenses.
If you were accused of a sex crime, you probably have a lot of questions. If you’d like to speak with an experienced Bryan, TX criminal defense attorney from The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C., please don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (979) 773-7028.