City IndexWhat are the penalties for public urination in cities around the world?
The penalties change drastically depending on where you are.
When nature calls, how quickly do you answer? How quickly can you do so legally? Sure, when a full bladder settles into your consciousness, flailing quickly to a designated facility might make you feel less like a person and more like a urine piñata. Letting loose—that is to say, urinating in public—is always a literal option but usually it comes with a price tag. The penalties vary significantly by country, even by city.
When traveling, it really is best to know what’s up and plan accordingly. Because when your phone battery threatens swift death thus rendering your toilet-finder app useless, you need to know if relief is worth its price.
We chose 11 CITIES across the globe
to retrieve our data
If you’ve had one too many steins of hefeweizen while visiting this capital city, feel free to let it flow. Seriously. Public urination in Berlin is completely legal. However, it seems a bit easier to pull it off if you’re man. Like most peeing-in-not-a-bathroom ventures, really. It’s considered slightly rude, but there’s no law against it.
100 Indian Rupee
Peeing in the streets has never been legal. It wasn’t until 2011 that government officials erected signs reminding people that not only is the practice considered rude, it’s also likely to get the urinator slapped with a fine.
500 Philippine pesos or 8 hours (one day) community service
Manila officials give the full bladder Filipina public two options: pay up to the government or pay back to your community. (Or the obvious third option: hold it until you find an appropriate, legal receptacle.) Any violators caught have the choice to pay a fine or complete eight hours (“one day”) of community service. The penalty is the same for urinating, spitting, and defecating. All three are considered littering in this coastal city, so choose your bodily function and associated fluid carefully.
Although flaky croissants and romantic architecture are sure to get your bladder bulging in no time, you’d save about the cost of a nice bottle of wine to wait it out. Penalties used to total to around $644 (that would be a very nice du vin), but luckily the maximum is now around $39 USD.
New York, US
Among those most often caught violating public urination laws are cab drivers, according to one attorney specializing in defending such cases. And where do these citations happen most frequently? Williamsburg.
80 GBP, arrest, or literally cleaning it up
Apparently the huge amount of drunk University of Brighton students inspired a new public urination law addendum similar to Manila’s—yet far more mortifying. Sussex Police officers ask nearby businesses to lend out cleaning equipment for violators to literally mop up their pee pee mess. Public shaming is nobody’s favorite, but it’s far better from the maximum penalty: arrest.
A King County-wide law wasn’t even solidified until 2013, previously varying by city limits. Now if you’re anywhere within the Greater Seattle Area and pop a squat—to either urinate or defecate—you put yourself in danger of scoring a fairly hefty fine.
United Arab Emirates
500 United Arab Emirates Dirham
The booming UAE metropolis isn’t keen to turn a blind eye to a person taking a piss in the streets. In 2012, the city of Dubai increased the number of personnel authorized to dole out tickets for public urination law violators.
This huge Midwestern college town actually fines the same for public urination as it does for underage drinking—two offenses that probably go hand-in-hand with astounding frequency.
$228 — $455
from 374.99 to 614.95 AUS dollar
The Sunshine State of down under has the legal explanation of what exactly constitutes as public urination:
“In a proceeding for an offence [sic] against subsection (1), evidence that liquid was seen to be discharged from the vicinity of a person’s pelvic area is enough evidence that the person was urinating.”
That’s fair. Pouring one out must always be done from a higher elevation to keep legality clear.
250 Euro (maximum)
Brussels went hard in 2012 when working to remedy poor street conditions. Officials trained and unleashed undercover agents into the streets to shut down “incivilities” that don’t stop at public urination.
Bonus pee crackdown
Some cities, instead of focusing on monetary or service punishments, crack down on public urination with art.
San Francisco took a page from Hamburg’s book and plans to paint several key pee-pee walls throughout the city with hydrophobic paint. Once that dries, nothing else will on top of it. Instead, when folks seek relief on a friendly Bay area wall, the urine stream should ricochet from the paint’s surface right back at them. Own your littering crimes?
COVER IMAGE via shutterstock.com