New York City Health Code Section 153.09 - Offensive Matter in the Street (otherwise known as public urination)

New York City Health Code Section 153.09 is one of the two most common ways that people are charged with urinating in public.

Text of the Statute

§ 153.09. Throwing or dropping offensive matter into streets, public places, rivers and other places prohibited. No person shall throw or put any blood, swill, brine, offensive animal matter, noxious liquid, dead animals, of- fal, putrid or stinking vegetable or animal matter or other filthy matter of any kind, and no person shall allow any such matter to run or fall into any street, public place, sewer, receiving basin or river, any standing or run- ning water or into any other waters of the City as defined in § 145.01.


Reading this provision of the Health Code, you have to wonder whether the author actually had urinating in public in mind as the conduct meant to be punished here. Urine is not specifically listed among the prohibited substances, but has actually been found to qualify as "other filthy matter of any kind". It seems that the idea behind this statute was more to prevent unregulated dumping of various commercial wastes into our streets and rivers. You can imagine times during the industrial revolution when unregulated businesses simply did dump blood, swill, brine and other noxious liquids wherever they chose, including the streets of New York City. I am not sure, but I would guess that urinating in public was not really the focus of this statute.

But it is now. This Public Health method of ticketing people for urinating in public is one of the top summonses issued in New York City.

This Public Health charge is a MISDEMEANOR. To be convicted of this offense means that you would have a CRIMINAL RECORD. No kidding. In theory a person who is convicted of this offense is potentially subject to one year in jail, a fine of up to $500, or both. This may not be a realistic outcome in the real world, but it is a reminder that these pink summonses ought not be taken lightly.


Information Provided by Shalley and Murray

The content in this site is sponsored by Shalley and Murray, a new york city criminal defense law firm. Shalley and Murray is a private criminal defense law firm that can help with your pink summons case. Learn more about hiring an attorney from Shalley and Murray.

We are not the court. We provide this site for free for people who need information about pink summonses. Please feel free to call us toll free with questions about pink summonses during regular business hours at 718-268-2171.

Related New York Criminal Court Links

The following are links to related sites with more information about pinks summons cases or information about other aspects of the New York Criminal Justice System, including a link to webcrims, a way to check online where and when your case (including pink summons matter) is pending:

Copyright 2010-2018 by Shalley and Murray,

80-02 Kew Gardens Road, Suite 702, Kew Gardens, NY  11415


Attorney Advertising

Powered by Squarespace.