Public Urination Case Results

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SoakdBrute
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Public Urination Case Results

Post by SoakdBrute »

I was browsing online when I ran into a rather lengthy list of case descriptions and outcomes, on a trial attorney's website:

https://www.greghillassociates.com/sub-area_1.html

I haven't yet gone over all of them (there's about 90 cases listed there), but some of them should be of interest. I will point out that usually, the description of the events leading up to someone (usually male) getting caught short only spans 1-2 paragraphs, so you can skip the legal technicalities which follow. There's a few common themes that stand out. Frequently, a guy will be out enjoying a few drinks with some buddies, oblivious of time passing, and before they know it it's closing time. As he rushes out of the bar with his group, he'll realize on the walk back to his car, or just as he arrives at the parking lot, that he forgot to pee before leaving. Sometimes he'll try to do the right thing and slip back into a bar to use the men's room, only to face a huge line or get turned away by the bouncer. Other times, he may weigh the decision to hold it in during a lengthy car ride home, instead choosing to take a leak by his vehicle. Some guys decide to use a ride-share service for the night, figuring they can slip in a quick piss undetected before their driver arrives. Whatever the reason, he's forced to find a dark spot in an alley, parking lot, or bush, but gets caught when he least expects it.

Here's a few excerpts in no particular order:

***

Our client, age 22, went to the downtown Hermosa Beach area with a few friends before the group returned to college in cities outside Los Angeles for the fall semester. The get-together was cherished, made only more appreciated because the bars had been shut down for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and now they were open again.

They all intended to enjoy a few drinks, so they took Ubers to the downtown area so they would not be tempted to drive back and risk a DUI arrest.

The group had dinner together and then went to Baja Sharkeez on the Pier Plaza area.

After about 1:00 p.m., the group decided to call it a night and call Uber to go home before the traditional rush of those leaving the bars at closing time an hour later.

Someone in the group suggested they go and check out the waves, so they all walked out on the Hermosa Pier together to a point where they could see the size of the surf.

As they were returning to the area where Uber picked up those from Pier Plaza, someone in the group announced he had to urinate. Someone else in the group said “me, too.” So, the group spread out a bit for privacy and each one decided to urinate in a separate area along 11th Street, near the corner with Beach Avenue, which are two of the streets bordering the large, ground level parking lot behind Baja Sharkeez, American Junkie and the Lighthouse Café on Pier Plaza.

Just as the group was doing so, a Hermosa Beach Police Department SUV drove by and spotted the group, each standing with their backs to the road and in a stance recognizable immediately as a male urinating. The officers stopped their car and got out.

One of our client’s friends noticed the police SUV and stopped urinating. The police approached him first and looked over at our client, who allegedly peered over his should while urinating on a fence, but did not stop urinating. One officer walked over towards our client and patiently waited while our client continued urinating.

The officer then asked for our client’s driver’s license and issued our client a ticket for violating Penal Code § 372, “Public Nuisance,” a misdemeanor. Our client’s two other friends also received a ticket for the same thing. Each young man signed the ticket, promising to appear in the Torrance Superior Court in a about six weeks. The officers then left.

***

Our client, age 29, went to the downtown Fullerton restaurant and bar area for Cinco De Mayo. Our client had no prior criminal convictions, but he did have a pending DUI case at the Westminster courthouse. He had graduated college, secured a steady job after graduation and then was laid off during the COVID-19 epidemic and was unemployed. His life was in chaos.

He ventured to the Fullerton bar scene by Uber to relax, as the bars were serving alcohol, albeit with social distancing. He had to use Uber because his driver’s license was suspended. He met some friends from high school there and one drink turned to two drinks, which turned to three and then four. He lost track of time, but as his friends started leaving about midnight, our client decided to also leave and catch an Uber back home.

As he was leaving Heroes Bar, he realized he needed to urinate before waiting in the area for his Uber driver and getting in the Uber to go home to Santa Ana, a good 20 minutes away.

He spotted a bush just outside Heroes Bar and decided to make it his urinal. He looked around and did not see anyone who could see what he was about to do.

However, our client was six feet, five inches tall, so being inconspicuous was relatively difficult. He was not five foot, three inches tall.

A uniformed Fullerton police officer walking the streets spotted our client and walked toward him while our client’s back was turned to him. According to the truly short police report, when the officer reached our client, “a steady stream of liquid was observed splattering on the ground from our client’s waist area.” In other words, the officer saw our client urinating.

When the client finished and zipped up his pants, he turned around to be face-to-face with the police officer. Our client was surprised and knew he was about to receive a ticket or even be arrested.

The officer asked our client if he was peeing into the bush and our client, according to the police report, admitted with was so and apologized. The officer then asked for our client’s driver’s license, which our client did not have, but provided him another form of ID.

***

Our client, age 25, went to Hermosa Beach to meet a few friends from work and enjoy a beer or two with dinner. He was an engineer who worked enormous hours and had not been out with friends for months due to COVID 19 restrictions. Finally, however, he met up with friends and thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

At about 10:15 p.m., the group decided to call it a night and each person headed home. Our client walked out of the bar and realized he needed to use a restroom. The bar had a long line of people waiting to get in, so he knew he had to find another place to relieve himself. A few other bars nearby also limited those who could enter, so our client walked out to the beach where he knew there were some public restrooms.

Our client walked to public restrooms near Hennessey’s and Scotty’s at the foot of the Hermosa Beach Pier. He walked up to the first one and pulled on the restroom door. It was locked. He tried the second restroom. It was locked. He tried the third restroom door. It was locked, too. He then realized all the restroom doors were locked.

Frustrated and quite urgently having to urinate, our client then decided to urinate near the drain by the public outdoor shower.

No sooner had he finished urinating than he heard a voice behind him saying, “Excuse me, sir. Excuse me.” Our client then turned around to find a uniformed Hermosa Beach Police Officer standing behind him. The officer asked out surprised client for his driver’s license and explained he was being cited for public urination (actually, a violation of Penal Code § 372, public nuisance).

Our client protested that the public restrooms were all locked, so he had no choice. The officer asked him why he did not just go into one of the local bars or restaurants and our client explained that the lines were too long and he could not wait that long.
Brian
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Re: Public Urination Case Results

Post by Brian »

That law firm does indeed seem to have a LOT of such cases on its books. Either they specialise in cases where guys can't wait on their way home from their night out and have to pee in the bushes in public and get caught, or it just happens so often in LA that this is what police and judiciary spend the bulk of their time handling! (Only joking there.)

Almost ten years ago I wrote a story featuring a law firm and a case along those lines, though the young man in my story didn't handle his encounter with the police as carefully and politely as the guys who feature in the cases you quote above, so he made things even more difficult for himself.

It's amazing really that such a commonly occurring situation (bursting to pee after a night out, no toilet available) can lead to such legal drama so easily.
AlphaJock
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Re: Public Urination Case Results

Post by AlphaJock »

It doesn't take much reading between the lines to deduce the 3rd lad was practically having an accident outside of the locked toilets.

Great find.
googlism2008
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Re: Public Urination Case Results

Post by googlism2008 »

Thanks for this find. I was reading through some of these summaries and although some of these seem to be hot, but as a person not from the United States, I also thought that the whole situation is ridiculous. The majority of the people who are caught short do want to use toilet facilities if they are available within reach. It is as if these cities are putting people into impossible situations, and forcing them to commit "crimes" that can result in penalties that, in my view, are far too incommensurate with the offense. The following is taken from the very first case, and I agree with the opinions that I highlighted in red.

----

Our client, an attorney in his late 20’s, was arrested for urinating behind a green tarp hanging off a fence surrounding a construction site. Our client was walking home from a Manhattan Beach bar early on Sunday morning, about 2:30 a.m., and just could not make it home without needing to relieve himself.

He had tried to use the porta-potty at the construction site, but it was locked. The police officer nearby apparently noticed this and decided to watch what our client did next. As the police officer anticipated, our client chose to urinate close by.

While our client was certainly hidden from view from the street and even neighbors of the house under construction (it was also 2:30 a.m. and dark and he was not in the light), he was arrested for public excretion, a violation of Manhattan Beach Municipal Code § 4.102.010.

The Torrance District Attorney handling cases for Manhattan Beach, once she heard the circumstances of the arrest, agreed with Greg Hill that the problem was perhaps more related to alcohol consumption than urinating in a place visible to the public.

(It merits mention in this summary, for the reader’s appreciation of why Hermosa Beach enforces the law against urinating in public, that it is illegal to wash urine down a storm drain because the town is so close to the ocean. Therefore, Hermosa Beach residents and merchants, if they are to follow this clean storm drain law, must simply allow the urine to evaporate or they must otherwise clean it up, i.e. with a towel. Either method leaves quite an unpleasant smell).

However, it is equally noteworthy that our office has never seen a resident or merchant in Hermosa Beach ticketed, arrested or prosecuted for using a garden hose or bucket of water to wash the urine down a drain. Instead, the drunk bar patron, who has just spent perhaps over $100 in a local bar, is locked out of the bar, provided inadequate public restrooms and then handed a ticket that could be over $1,000 and possibly a criminal record.

We think the solution to this problem is to either allow residents and merchants to wash urine down the storm drains, as most other cities nearby do, and / or improve the lighting and signage for the public restrooms in downtown Hermosa Beach. An even better solution would be to either require restaurants and bars to allow patrons back in to use the restrooms or build public restrooms in the parking structure to the north of the Pier Plaza and in the ground-level parking lot to the south of Pier Plaza.

The current public restrooms are on the sand, near the pier, which is far away from where they are needed late at night. Moreover, even if someone were to venture in that direction, the restrooms are poorly lit and raise concerns about personal safety if one were to enter such a place.

In this case, the District Attorney agreed that our client could “earn a dismissal” if he went to 20 AA meetings and showed proof of this within three months. He also had to pay the booking fee to the City of Manhattan Beach.

True to his word, our client then paid the booking fee and attended 20 AA meetings. The case was indeed dismissed.

This was greatly appreciated by our client, who worked for a large, multi-national law firm and wanted to keep his opportunities for promotion to partner open.
Fred
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Re: Public Urination Case Results

Post by Fred »

Most often, men charged with public urination have had no safe public toilet available, they've attempted to avoid being seen, and they haven't done permanent damage to property. It may happen in a public place but rarely in the public view, so I would not call it "public urination". It's not a crime. A small fine should be sufficient to motivate the perpetrator to plan a little better in the future. The city that banned property owners from washing urine down a storm drain is as silly as the municipality that got hysterical when a man was caught urinating into a public water system reservoir. Apparently, all the fish wore diapers. ;-)
Simonwet
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Re: Public Urination Case Results

Post by Simonwet »

I think the message here is that it's better just to wet your pants!
Brian
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Re: Public Urination Case Results

Post by Brian »

Simonwet wrote: 15 Sep 2023, 14:03 I think the message here is that it's better just to wet your pants!
Indeed so! That's humiliating, but perfectly legal.

I wonder if any of these cases of public urination ever hinge on a defence that the defendant did not actually whip it out, and the pee stream was coming through his pants/shorts/jeans/whatever.
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