King County makes it illegal to urinate in public

SEATTLE -- It may seem like a no-brainer to you.

But Monday, King County officially made it illegal to go potty outside in unincorporated parts of the county.

The Metropolitan King County Council adopted an ordinance to make it against the law to urinate or defecate in public.  The legislation makes it a Class 2 infraction, which means offenders could be facing fines of up to $125.

“I believe that this bill is a very common-sense solution to an issue that has been challenging the communities in King County’s unincorporated areas,” County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, chairwoman of the council’s Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee, said in a released statement.

“It is an additional tool that the King County Sheriff’s Office can use to encourage people to modify their behavior.  I introduced this legislation after hearing from many concerned citizens and I’m very pleased that the Council has taken seriously its responsibility to govern in the unincorporated areas,” the statement continues.

Right now, there are no laws on the books in state law or county ordinances that makes public urination a crime, except at transit centers.  There are 17 cities in King County that do prohibit relieving yourself in public, but no King County Code section expressly making it illegal. The ordinance applies to anyone over 12 and defines the offense as performing the acts in public places that are generally visible to public view.

“Public place” is defined as an area generally visible to public view and includes streets, sidewalks, bridges, alleys, plazas, parks, driveways, parking lots, vacant land and buildings open to the general public.  It also includes doorways and entrances to buildings or dwellings and the grounds enclosing them.