Is public urination a misdemeanor?

I received a ticket for urinating in public a few months ago and on the original ticket it was circled as an infraction, but recently I received a Notice of Amended Citation from the LA County Sheriff's Department stating it has been necessary to amend the citation as follows: 11.16.050 LACC, Urinating in Public, No Booking Number Required, Charge is a Misdemeanor. Why was it changed to a misdemeanor and is there a way I can get it lowered to an infraction? Will I need to hire a lawyer? I had to go to bad and I just went next to some bushes, thinking nothing of it.

Los Angeles, CA -

Attorney Answers (3)

John M. Kaman

John M. Kaman

Criminal Defense Attorney - San Francisco, CA

11.16.050 of the LA County Code is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $1,000 and/or six months in jail. Before you panic I doubt seriously that any Court would give you much if any jail time for this offense. Some history behind the enactment of this ordinance can be found at If you want it reduced or dismissed your best bet is to hire a LA lawyer.

Arthur Khachatourians

Arthur Khachatourians

Criminal Defense Attorney - Los Angeles, CA

Urinating in Public is what we call a "wobblette." The prosecuting agency has the discretion to file it as a misdemeanor or an infraction. If the case is filed as a misdemeanor, you are entitled to a a jury trial. If the case is filed as an infraction, you will only get a judge trial, unless you insist to have it filed as a misdemeanor.

Robert Jan Suhajda

Robert Jan Suhajda

Tax Lawyer - Cerritos, CA

I would invest in a lawyer. A lawyer knows how to negotiate with the Police or the City Attorney to get the charge reduced. There may also be a defense depending on the circumstances. I don't know where you were or your options. You need an well reasoned strategy and plan.

Although the above response is believed to be accurate, it should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice because the information provided is incomplete. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. No attorney client relation is formed with me without a written contract.

Good Luck starts with a strategy and a plan.

Robert J. Suhajda, MS,CPA
17721 Norwalk Blvd. #43
Artesia, CA 90701

Former financial auditor and controller. Admitted to US Tax Court, Income Tax, Bankruptcy, IRS representation, Fiduciary income tax returns, Estate and Gift tax returns

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