Public Urination and Your Criminal Record
Question: I was charged with public urination. If I plead guilty will I wind up with a criminal record?
My Reply: Why would you ever plead guilty?
Pleading guilty to public urination will result in the entry on your criminal record of either a misdemeanor (153.09) or violation (16-118).
In the United States, the government has the legal obligation to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Unless there is something to be gained by pleading guilty, it is NEVER a good idea.
I understand that in some cases, the fine is so small that it seems strange to pay a lawyer to represent you when you can just plead guilty and save a few dollars. But this type of thinking is extremely short-sighted. Once your check is cashed by the court, your guilty plea cannot be withdrawn. You now have been found guilty and have a conviction on your New York criminal transcript for the charge you pleaded guilty to.
For a middle-aged, self-employed carpenter, such a conviction may have no impact on his future. However, for most people — especially young professionals — with employers, business licenses to renew, and a tough economic environment, the question sometimes comes down to this: How much risk are you willing to take that your guilty plea never comes back to haunt you?
Choosing to fight your public urination charge may be the best decision you ever make. A dismissal or ACD will result in the charges being dismissed and the case being permanently sealed from public view or inquiry.
On the other hand, questions about your criminal background are no longer limited to asking about just felonies and misdemeanors. Consider this question taken directly from a current (as of September 2012) Wall Street Investment Bank pre-employment screening questionnaire:
Have you ever been convicted of, or pleaded guilty or no contest (“nolo contendere”) to a criminal offense, including felonies, misdemeanors, and violations (but not minor traffic infractions or convictions sealed, expunged, discharged, or set aside under federal or state law)?
Unless you feel comfortable disclosing your public urination guilty plea to all of your future employers, I highly recommend that you at least strongly consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer to handle your case.
Obviously we cannot guarantee any particular outcome, but we utilize all of our experience and skills to attempt to have every case dismissed and we are proud of our results.
If you are concerned about the effect your public urination charge will have on your criminal record, please call us for a free consultation and a fee quote.