Look, we've all been there, we need to pee badly, we're in downtown Dallas, TX, and there isn't a bathroom close. We then dash into an alley either out of the light or beside a dumpster and relieve ourselves.

No, it's not the most sanitary way to do it but it beats peeing our pants. The problem is anywhere in our state, if you are caught doing it, there could be some serious consequences that could stick with you for the rest of your life. Let's look at what legal trouble you could get into for peeing in public.

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Peeing in Public

Dashing into an alley to pee is not the ideal way we want to relieve ourselves. There's no toilet to go in, there's no sink to wash our hands properly when done, just the area in an alley alone can be gross and unsanitary. But we've had to do it on occasion in an extreme emergency. If you're caught doing it, there can be some serious consequences. Depending on the circumstances, you could even be considered a sex offender and have to register as one (sharpcriminalattorney.com).

The decision to urinate in a public place can have lasting negative consequences. - Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp

Public Lewdness

If you are caught peeing in public, you could be charged with public lewdness or indecent exposure. Here's what section 21.07 and 21.08 of the Texas Penal Code (statutes.capitol.texas.gov) has to say:

  • Public Lewdness - A person commits this offense if they knowingly engage in sexual intercourse or sexual contact if another person is present. A person can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If the person is a sexually violent predator, they could be charged with a third degree felony.
  • Indecent Exposure - A person commits this offense if he or she exposes his or her anus or genitals with the intent to arouse or sexually gratify another person in the presence of another person. A person can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. If the person is a sexually violent predator, they could be charged with a third degree felony.

Court Precedent

There is no formal verbiage in the penal code about peeing in public but there is court precedent of people being charged with either of those. In some cases, a person was even labeled as a sex offender because they did it too close to a school or a public park where children could be, or were, present. You don't want that to stick with you the rest of your life just because you had to go number one.

But what if you're in the woods?

So if you're in the woods, by all means go. You will not find a bathroom anywhere close to go. However, if you are on a trial that other people can follow, especially children, you need to go as far off the trial as possible and at least 200 feet away from any water source. If you have to go number two, dig a hole six to eight inches deep and four to six inches wide and then cover it up when finished (visitusaparks.com).

Can I pee in my own backyard?

Yes. However, if a neighbor sees you, they can call the police and you can be charged with public lewdness or indecent exposure even if it's on your private property. If the neighbor's children see you, that can result in a sex offender charge (www.tromboldlaw.com).

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