Nevada Laws for "Urinating in Public" and "Defecating in Public"
Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys

Urinating or defecating in public is a criminal offense throughout Nevada.

If the person also neglects to clean up his/her solid waste, he/she faces charges for the Nevada crime of littering as well.  And if the deed was done in a particularly public place, the D.A. may even bring charges for the Nevada crime of indecent exposure.

These crimes frequently involves partying tourists and bar patrons who are too intoxicated or exhausted to find a bathroom.

Defenses

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Peeing in public is a misdemeanor offense in Nevada.

Typical defenses that may help defendants overcome Nevada charges of going to the bathroom in public include:

  • The defendant was falsely accused
  • The defendant had a justifiable medical condition
  • There was no reasonable alternative

Penalties

Peeing in public is a misdemeanor in Nevada. The punishment varies depending on which city it occurs in, but it typically involves a small fine.

Failing to dispose of excrement is also a misdemeanor that usually carries fines and mandatory community service time.

Finally, people facing indecent exposure charges for their public bio breaks are subject to harsh sentences including possible Nevada sex offender registration. A first offense of indecent exposure is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

On this page our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss the Nevada offense of public urination. Continue reading to learn about how the law works, how defendants can fight charges, and how judges levy punishments.

Definition of public urination in Nevada

It is unlawful in Nevada for people to answer the call of nature in public, such as on city streets, parks, or other common areas. Once people are out of their homes, they are expected to urinate or defecate in public restrooms' toilets or adult diapers. Even homeless people are expected to find shelters and porta-potties whenever possible.1

In most situations, people who go #1 in public are not expected to clean up afterwards since the urine usually runs off into the closest drain or gets absorbed in soil. However, people who go #2 in public are expected to pick up after themselves like they would for a dog. Otherwise, Nevada cops may give them citations for both crapping in public as well as littering.2

In some cases, going to the bathroom in public rises to the level of the Nevada crime of indecent exposure. Like it sounds, indecent exposure is openly or obscenely exposing one's private parts to others.3 Henderson criminal defense attorney Michael Becker illustrates how public urination can cross the line into indecent exposure:

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Going to the bathroom in a populated area may qualify as indecent exposure in Nevada.

Example: Tom and John leave the Hard Rock Hotel drunk and in need of a bathroom. Tom goes to a dark alleyway behind a dumpster where no one could see. Meanwhile John drops trou right on Paradise in full view of other pedestrians. A Las Vegas Metro cop sees both of them: He cites Tom for public urination for pissing in the alleyway, but he arrests John and books him at the Clark County Detention Center for both public urination and indecent exposure. This is because unlike Tom, John exposed his genitalia in full view of other people and took no effort to hide himself.

Note that people accused of public urination are rarely arrested. They are typically given a citation similar to a traffic ticket with instructions to show up at court on a certain day or pay a fine. People accused of indecent exposure however are usually formally arrested and booked in jail.

Also note that public urination laws are governed by city codes and county ordinances, not state laws.

Defenses to public urination charges in Nevada

There are several ways to fight public urination charges in Nevada depending on the unique facts of the case. Possible defenses are the following:

  1. The defendant was falsely accused. Perhaps the police mistook the defendant for someone else. If the act was not caught on video and there were no other witnesses, there may be insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was the one who went to the bathroom.
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    Certain medical conditions may release people from criminal liabilty for urinating in public.
  2. The defendant had a medical condition. Many people suffer from temporary or permanent maladies that make it difficult for them to reach a bathroom in time. Examples of these conditions include: overactive bladder syndrome, diabetes, interstitial cystitis, urinary tract infections, multiple sclerosis, enlarged prostate, food poisoning, and diarrhea. If the defense attorney can show that the defendant was blameless because he/she was legitimately ill, the prosecutor may drop the charges.   
  3. There was no reasonable alternative. Judges understand that sometimes people find themselves in situations where there is no bathroom nearby, and that going in public is a better alternative to a burst bladder. If the defense attorney can show that the defendant's actions were reasonable under the circumstances, the case may be dropped. Henderson criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse gives an example where private necessity trumps public decency:

Example: Jim is driving on the I-15 at night. His car stalls, and his cell battery is dead so he cannot call for help. He needs to use the bathroom badly, but he reasons it would be dangerous to walk on the side of the highway to the closest exit, which is a mile away anyway. He decides to crouch by his car and cloak his jacket over his body so no one could physically see him going to the bathroom. If a policeman happened to see him and cite him for public urination, chances are the prosecutor would eventually drop the charge because extenuating circumstances left Jim with little choice. Furthermore, he took care to conceal himself so no one would see him unclothed.

Penalties for public urination in Nevada

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Going to the bathroom in public is prosecuted as a misdemeanor under Nevada law.

Peeing or pooping in public is a misdemeanor in Nevada. The penalties vary slightly city to city, with the maximum penalties topping off at $1,000 in fines and/or up to 6 months in jail. In practice however, the typical penalty is just a few hundred dollars and no jail at all.

Below are the specific penalty ranges for urinating or having a bowel movement in public in Nevada's biggest cities.

Las Vegas
  • $100 - $1000, and/or
  • up to 6 months in jail

Note that unlike with most misdemeanors, here the minimum fine is $100 rather than $0.4

Henderson
  • up to $1,000 in fines, and/or
  • up to 6 months in jail

In addition, there is a $100 clean-up fee.5

North Las Vegas
  • up to $500 in fines, and/or
  • up to 6 months in jail

Note that unlike with most misdemeanors, here the maximum fine is only $500 as opposed ot $1,000.6

Reno
  • up to $1,000 in fines, and/or
  • up to 6 months in jail

As with other cities, judges rarely impose jail.7

Note that for first-time offenses, prosecutors may be willing to dismiss the charge after the defendant pays the fine so there is no conviction on the person's record.

Littering:

Since feces is considered a hazardous material, the penalties for not cleaning up after a public bowel movement can get steep. A first-time littering offense in a two year timespan is a misdemeanor carrying:

  • up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines, and
  • ten hours of community service including cleaning of the dump site

A second-time littering offense in a two year timespan is a gross misdemeanor carrying:

  • between fourteen days and 364 days in jail, and
  • ten hours of community service including cleaning of the dump site

A third-time dumping offense in a two year timespan is also a gross misdemeanor carrying:

  • 364 days in jail, and
  • ten hours of community service including cleaning of the dump site

Note that the judge may order thousands of dollars in civil fines as well.

Indecent exposure:

When public urination is charged as indecent exposure, the penalties can be very steep. A first-time offense is a gross misdemeanor. The sentence includes:

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Depending on the location, peeing in public could be charged as indecent exposure under Nevada law.
  • up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines, and
  • possible sex offender registration

A second-time or subsequent offense of indecent exposure is a category D felony in Nevada. The sentence includes:

  • one to four years in Nevada State Prison and maybe up to $5,000 in fines, and
  • possible sex offender registration

Note that indecent exposure is classified as either a Tier 0 or Tier 1 sex offense. People who are registered as Tier 0 or Tier 1 sex offenders are not publicly searchable on the Nevada sex registry database.

Arrested? Cited? Call an attorney...

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Call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673).

If you have been arrested or cited for 'urinating in public,' call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys. We are available 24/7 at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for free consultations. We may be able to get your charge dismissed completely so you have no conviction on your record.

Legal References:

1 LVMC 10.40.040 - Urination or defecation in certain places.

(A) For purposes of this Section:

(1) "Appropriate sanitary facility" means a urinal, toilet, commode or other facility that accommodates or is designed for the sanitary disposal of human bodily fluids or waste and that is enclosed from public view.

(2) "Public place" means any walkway, street, highway, sidewalk, bridge, overpass, alley or alleyway, plaza, park, driveway, transportation facility, park, recreational area, parking lot, vacant or undeveloped lot or the stairwells, alcoves, doorways and entrance ways to such places.

(3) "Verified medical condition" does not include alcoholism or the excessive consumption of alcohol.

(B) Any person who urinates or defecates in, on or about any of the following places, other than in an appropriate sanitary facility, is guilty of a misdemeanor:

(1) Any public place;

(2) Any private property into or upon which the public is admitted by easement or license; or

(3) Any private property without the consent of the owner.

(C) It is an affirmative defense to an offense described in Subsection (B) of this Section that such person then suffered from a verified medical condition which necessitated or caused such action.

(D) It is unlawful for any person who has urinated or defecated in, on or about any public place, other than in an appropriate sanitary facility, to fail to clean or remove the material deposited, or to fail to dispose of the material used in the cleaning or removal process in a container designed for such disposal as required under Title 9. Such action must be taken immediately or as is otherwise immediately practicable under the attendant circumstances.

2NRS 444.630 Prohibited acts; criminal penalty; clean up of dump site; community service; timing of commencement of clean up; proof of lawful disposal; revocation of business license; identification of violator; persons required to enforce provisions; issuance of citation; request for and provision of information.

      1. A person who places, deposits or dumps, or who causes to be placed, deposited or dumped, or who causes or allows to overflow, any sewage, sludge, cesspool or septic tank effluent, or accumulation of human excreta, or any solid waste, in or upon any street, alley, public highway or road in common use, or upon any public park or other public property other than property designated or set aside for such a purpose by the governing body having charge thereof, or upon any private property, is guilty of:

      (a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (c), for a first offense within the immediately preceding 2 years, a misdemeanor.

      (b) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (c), for a second offense within the immediately preceding 2 years, a gross misdemeanor and shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 14 days but not more than 364 days.

      (c) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, for a third or subsequent offense within the immediately preceding 2 years, a gross misdemeanor and shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for 364 days. If, within the immediately preceding 4 years, a person commits three or more offenses that involve placing, depositing or dumping, or causing to be placed, deposited or dumped, any cesspool or septic tank effluent or solid waste, the person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for 1 year.

      2. For the purposes of subsection 1, an offense that occurred within 2 or 4 years, as applicable, immediately preceding the date of the principal offense or after the principal offense constitutes a prior offense when evidenced by a conviction, without regard to the sequence of the offenses and convictions.

      3. In addition to any criminal penalty imposed pursuant to subsection 1, any civil penalty imposed pursuant to NRS 444.635 and any administrative penalty imposed pursuant to NRS 444.629, a court shall sentence a person convicted of violating subsection 1:

      (a) If the person is a natural person, to clean up the dump site and perform 10 hours of community service under the conditions prescribed in NRS 176.087.

      (b) If the person is a business entity:

             (1) Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (2), for a first or second offense within the immediately preceding 2 years, to:

                   (I) Clean up the dump site; and

                   (II) Perform 40 hours of community service cleaning up other dump sites identified by the solid waste management authority.

             (2) For a third or subsequent offense within the immediately preceding 2 or 4 years, as applicable pursuant to paragraph (c) of subsection 1, to:

                   (I) Clean up the dump site; and

                   (II) Perform 200 hours of community service cleaning up other dump sites identified by the solid waste management authority.

      4. If a person is sentenced to clean up a dump site pursuant to subsection 3, the person shall:

      (a) Within 3 calendar days after sentencing, commence cleaning up the dump site; and

      (b) Within 5 business days after cleaning up the dump site, provide to the solid waste management authority proof of the lawful disposal of the sewage, solid waste or other matter that the person was convicted of disposing of unlawfully.

-> The solid waste management authority shall prescribe the forms of proof which may be provided to satisfy the provisions of paragraph (b).

      5. In addition to any other penalty prescribed by law, if a business entity is convicted of violating subsection 1:

      (a) Such violation constitutes reasonable grounds for the revocation of any license to engage in business that has been issued to the business entity by any governmental entity of this State; and

      (b) The solid waste management authority may seek the revocation of such a license by way of any applicable procedures established by the governmental entity that issued the license.

      6. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 444.585, ownership of solid waste does not transfer from the person who originally possessed it until it is received for transport by a person authorized to dispose of solid waste pursuant to this chapter or until it is disposed of at a municipal disposal site. Identification of the owner of any solid waste which is disposed of in violation of subsection 1 creates a reasonable inference that the owner is the person who disposed of the solid waste. The fact that the disposal of the solid waste was not witnessed does not, in and of itself, preclude the identification of its owner.

      7. All:

      (a) Health officers and their deputies;

      (b) Game wardens;

      (c) Police officers of cities and towns;

      (d) Sheriffs and their deputies;

      (e) Other peace officers of the State of Nevada; and

      (f) Other persons who are specifically designated by the local government to do so,

-> shall, within their respective jurisdictions, enforce the provisions of this section.

      8. A district health officer or a deputy of the district health officer or other person specifically designated by the local government to do so may issue a citation for any violation of this section which occurs within the jurisdiction of the district health officer.

      9. To effectuate the purposes of this section, the persons charged with enforcing this section may request information from any:

      (a) Agency of the State or its political subdivisions.

      (b) Employer, public or private.

      (c) Employee organization or trust of any kind.

      (d) Financial institution or other entity which is in the business of providing credit reports.

      (e) Public utility.

-> Each of these persons and entities, their officers and employees, shall cooperate by providing any information in their possession which may aid in the location and identification of a person believed to be in violation of subsection 1. A disclosure made in good faith pursuant to this subsection does not give rise to any action for damages for the disclosure.

3NRS 201.220 Indecent or obscene exposure; penalty.

      1. A person who makes any open and indecent or obscene exposure of his or her person, or of the person of another, is guilty:

      (a) For the first offense, of a gross misdemeanor.

      (b) For any subsequent offense, of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

      2. For the purposes of this section, the breast feeding of a child by the mother of the child does not constitute an act of open and indecent or obscene exposure of her body.

4LVMC 10.42.110 - Violation—Penalty.

Any person, firm or corporation who violates any of the provisions of this Article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than the maximum fine allowed by law for the commission of a misdemeanor or by imprisonment in the City Jail for not to exceed six months, or any combination of such fine and imprisonment. Every day of such violation shall constitute a separate offense.

5HMC 8.60.130 - Public urination or defecation prohibited.

Any person who shall defecate or urinate in any public place shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

A. For purposes of this section, a "public place" means any street, alley, sidewalk, thoroughfare, school, municipal premises, vacant lot, parks or private property that is plainly visible from any such public place, except by proper use of a toilet or other suitable facility provided for this purpose.

B. In addition to other penalty for this offense, the court shall order the person to pay an administrative fee of $100.00 to the City of Henderson for any clean-up costs incurred by the city.

HMC 8.60.160 - Penalty for violation.

A violation of any provision of this chapter shall be a misdemeanor.

6NLVMC 9.08.020 - Unlawful to urinate or defecate in undesignated places. 

No person shall urinate or defecate or expose himself with the intent to urinate or defecate in any public place or any place open to the public except in such places designated as public restrooms.

NLVMC 9.12.040 - Violation—Penalty.

Any person found guilty of any violation within this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) and/or imprisonment in the city jail, not to exceed six months, and every continuing day of such violation shall constitute a separate offense.

7RMC Sec. 8.12.018. - Urinating/defecating in public prohibited.

(a) No person shall urinate or defecate in or upon any street, sidewalk, alley, plaza, park, beach, public building or publicly maintained facility, or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view. This section shall not apply to urinating or defecating in any restroom or other facility designed for the sanitary disposal of human waste.

(b) Any person convicted under this section shall be punished for a misdemeanor.

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