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Lucy, Esq.
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Experience:  Lawyer
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This is a QUESTION CONCERNING GEORGIA STATE LAW: About two

Resolved Question:

This is a QUESTION CONCERNING GEORGIA STATE LAW:

About two weeks ago my adult son----WITH NO PREVIOUS CRIMINAL RECORD WHATSOEVER I HIS 40 YEARS-- received a citation for public urination in a Kroeger parking lot at 1:00 a.m. in the morning.

Noone else was in the parking lot at that time. He had been at a party held in a pub--had been drinking--and chose to call "Safe Ride-where they pick up you and your car"!. His car was parked at the Kroger parking lot and was to meet them there.

He could not open the door--or the police could have possibly charge him with a DUI. He had to urinate but could not leave his car and the establishment was closed.

He chose to urinate while waiting for safe ride. The police cited him for public urination.

He has a court date in 2 weeks. What would a judge do in a case like this when you smartly chose not to drive but had to use the bathroom? Again--this is his only act of any legal matter--involving the law?

Sincerely, Dianne
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX X'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

Unfortunately, public urination is a strict liability offense. He can be found guilty without any evidence of criminal intent. The judge is required to follow the law, and the law says that it is an offense to urinate in a public area. The judge is not allowed to consider that he could have chosen to drive but didn't. A person could possibly use the circumstances to negotiate a lower fine with the DA in exchange for a guilty plea, but if he requests a trial, then it's not relevant why he was in the parking lot or that he chose to urinate there instead of driving. It's a bad situation, but the law is pretty clear.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Just so I am clear--my son will be fined if the DA/Judge allows AND NOT FOUND GUILTY---OR


HE PLEAS GUILTY AND THEY WOULD FINE HIM AT A LOWER RATE?


 


SINCE HE IS GUILTY--IS THIS A MISDEAMNOR?

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
If he goes to trial, he'll also be found guilty, unless the police officer isn't present or doesn't recognize him. It is sometimes possible to get a lower fine by pleading guilty, yes. It's usually the DA that negotiates this, not the judge.

Public urination is often prosecuted as public indecency, which is a sex offense that requires registration. Look at the ticket to confirm whether he is charged under Section 16-6-8. That is a misdemeanor.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

HE IS CHARGED UNDER SECTION 38-58

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

AND BY THE WAY--THERE IS NO PUBLIC DEFENDER OR DA INVOLVED RIGHT NOW. THE CITATION JUST SAYS APPEAR IN FRONT OF THE JUDGE!

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
38-58 sounds like a local ordinance. What city was he in when this happened?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

SANDY SPRINGS - GEORGIA 30350. THE CITATION WAS MARKED STATE LAW NOT LOCAL ORDNANCE. AGAIN- NO DA/PUBLIC DEFENDER ASSIGNED-ONLY JUDGE APPEARANCE. FULTON COUNTY GEORGIA.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
The DA and judge aren't assigned until the hearing. That's normal. You'll never find that information written on a ticket. The hearing is just an initial appearance where the judge explains the charges and asks him if he wants to plead not guilty and request a trial.

There is no Section 38-58 in Georgia state law. Chapter 38 deals with veteran's affairs, which has nothing to do with this. Neither Fulton County nor Sandy Springs has a code section with that number. That unfortunately makes it difficult for me to tell what he's charged with. The judge will tell him when he goes to court, but it public urination is usually charged under the statute I cited. Unfortunately, an incorrect citation number on a ticket isn't a grounds for dismissing the ticket, because the DA can ask to have it amended.

If he is charged with a misdemeanor, when he goes to court, he can request an attorney to represent him if he cannot afford one. The attorney can try to negotiate on his behalf.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

thanku for your patience! It scares me to advise my son to a guilty charge of publuc urination - when there was no intent.


He is gonna b in front of a judge that is gonna ask did u do it or not! The answer has to b yes but not intentionally.


 


Then the judge or the DA is gonna charge him for a crime - or fine him--or go to court--which u have already said is useless because he did it.


 


It comes down to--if I understand correctly--WHAT THE JUDGE OR DA IS GONNA DO AFTER THEY ASK THE QUESTION--SINCE THE CITATION WAS INCORRECT. THEN IT'S UP TO THE MERCY OF THE DA OR JUDGE ON THE FACT OF THE LAW-- OR IF THE DA OR JUDGE HAS ANY DISCRETION INTO WHAT THEIR DECISION WILL WARRANT?


 


CAN HE PLEAD GUILTY AND WITHOUT ADJUDICATION AFTER A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME. THEN THE CHARGE WILL NOT BE ON HIS RECORD?


 


SINCERELY-DIANNE!.


 

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
The judge actually can't ask him whether he did it unless he chooses to testify on his own behalf. The Fifth Amendment protects a person from being required to testify against himself. So, the judge will only ask if he pleads guilty or if he takes the stand at trial.

In some cases, the DA will agree to a diversion program that would allow the charges to be dismissed following probation. That is something that he or his lawyer can ask the DA about. But the first step is usually to plead not guilty and request a trial. That gives the defendant time to negotiate and he can change his plea later.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

SO PAYING A FEE ON THE DATE HE APPEARS IN FRONT OF THE JUDGE IS BASICALLY NOT GONNA HAPPEN. ITS SIMPLY A GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY APPEARANCE.


THEN THATS WHEN A PUBLIC DEFENDER AND DA WILL BE ASSIGNED AND THEN TRY TO WORK OUT AN AGREEMENT BEFORE TRIAL! U HAVE ALREADY SAID A TRIAL ACCORDING TO LAW--HE IS GUILTY!


 


GOING TO COURT IS NOT AN OPTION--CAUSE THAT WILL COST A FORTUNE AND THE STATE/JUDGE WILL B PISSED OFF RELATED TO THE EXPENSES INCURRED WHEN YOU DID SOMETHING CLEARLY NOTED!

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
If he pleads guilty at the original appearance, he can pay the fine immediately. If he wants to negotiate the fine, he can ask the judge to give a short recess to talk to the DA. The DA will step up when the case is called. A public defender will be assigned if the DA has any intention of asking that he serve jail time (which is unlikely, but possible).

There are no additional fees or charges for a defendant who chooses to exercise his constitutional right to a trial.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I WILL TALK TO MY SON TOMORROW AND LET HIM REVIEW R COMMENTS!! IT'S UP TO HIM WHAT TO DO--I JUST WANTED TO HAVE AS MUCH INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO US BEFORE WE STEP INTO A COURT ROOM BLINDED.


I WILL BE BACK IN TOUCH SOON--AND THANKU FOR YOUR ADVICE!!! YOUR ANSWERS AND PATIENCE HAVE BEEN SPECTULAR--AND I WILL TIP YOU AS WELL!


 


MY GOD--THANKU--CORDIALLY, DIANNE!

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I'm glad i could help. I hope it all works out for you. Good luck.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
MY SON'S EX WIFE JUST TURNED OVER PRIMARY CUSTODIAL RIGHTS TO HIM OVER THEIR 13 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER ON 1 JUN! I HAVE TO B VERY CAREFUL ON WHAT TO SUGGEST HE DO SINCE WE DON'T KNOW WHAT SECTION /CODE HE VIOLATED OR WHAT THE DA/ JUDGE COULD DO TO HIM! HE COULD GET CHARGED FPR A BASIC URINATION CHARGE/ FELONY/ MISDEMEANOR CHARGE OR JUSY FINED PLUS IF THE WORST HAPPENS. JE COULD LOSE HIS DAUGHTER! EVERYTHING HAPPENS ONONDSY! I AM SHITLESS ABOUT HOW TO ADVISE HIM TO PROCEED. IF WE "F" UP - WE LOSE EVERYTHING! SAD AND CONFUSED FACE! I WILL B N CONTACT ON MONDAY!:)
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I can certainly understand your confusion. I'm sorry that this happened.

What many people do in this situation is go in, listen to the explanation of the charges, and plead not guilty. That gives them time before the trial to decide whether to plead guilty and to try to negotiate a good deal.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
SORRY FOR my typing errors! Monday is the court date. Nervous as crap! We will talk on Saturday when he is off work and u will show him on conversations! Make a decision after they amend the code to the actual charge and probably plea the 5th until we can research the ramifications associated with the new code/law!
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I hope it goes well. Have a good weekend.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
CAN U GIVE ME THE WEBSITE TO LOOK UP WHAT SECTION 16-6-8 CAN B FOUND? I ONLY HAVE 3 DAYS LEFT TO B PREPARED! HAVE TRIED BUT I KEEP RUNNING IN CIRCLES! THANKU! CORDIALLY - DIANNE!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
U SAID EARLIER THAT THE JUDGE HAS TO FOLLOW THE RULES OF THE CODE ASSOCIATED WITH URINATION N A PUBLIC PLACE. I LOOKED UP YOUR WEB SITE CONCERNING THE RULES ASSOCIATED WITH BEING CHARGED A MISDEMEANOR AND THE SITE KEPT REFERRING TO SECTIONS RELATED TO THE GA CODE. COULDN'T FIND THE WEBSITE EASILY CAUSE I KEPT GETTING TIMED OUT ON INTERNET! CAN U GIVE ME THE WEBSITE TO GA CODE RULES ASSOCIATED WITH PUBLIC URINATION? CORDIALLY - DIANNE!
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Public urination is usually charged under public indecency in Georgia. If you click the link I gave you in my last response, it will take you directly to that Code Section.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
my son went to court today -as u already know! The judge immediately gave him 4 options! Under the GA state code- fORTUNATELY for you we found out their was no GA state code listed under 38-68! However under local city ordnance--the code for Sandy Springs GA! His options were to pleaqd-guilty-non guilty-no contest-pretrial-or trial! Pretrial was the only option that allowed him to talk to a pd! No dt-involved at that time! GA state code--as u said-as strict rules--it would have been nice to know what they were before going into this mess! Thanku for your code-but it didn't help much for a first time offender! He opted to go to pretrail--asthe judge decided it was his best option-and it would be settled that day! After talking to the pd--he was given a fine--and paid it and left the courtroom 6 hours later! No reccord o him-no misdeameanor-and no background check under GA for any other job expectations! Best deal possible! Thanku for informing me about the worst possible scenarios--that was helpful--as well as scared us to death!!! Now the fine is paid--the offense is over--and we can sleep at night! After I rest tonight--I will rate our conversations--as well as give u a tip--as promised!!! I am just Friggin worn out right now! Cordially-Dianne!
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I really didn't mean to scare you, but I'm glad it all worked out. Have a good evening and take care of yourself.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 19506
Experience: Lawyer
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