Why can't I pee in public?

Legal question of the day:

A toilet is not always nearby when the bladder squeezes. As an exception, can you relieve yourself in the city park? And is there an emergency law?


No matter how urgent it is, wild peeing is generally prohibited in Germany. Whether behind the bush or on a walk in the woods: Relieve yourself in public, cause a public nuisance. You face a fine. And that can get really expensive. In some cities you can be asked to pay up to 5,000 euros.

Fine frame

The law enforcement officers usually differentiate according to the respective circumstances. If you are pissing in the bushes hidden in the city park, you can get away with a warning. Or you often just have to pay a smaller fine. It is usually significantly more expensive if you urinate against the wall of a house. And you don't even need to negotiate about the waiver of a fine if you abuse a church or a memorial as a toilet. There is no catalog of fines comparable to traffic sins for the administrative offense of peeing in the wild. The corresponding regulation only specifies a framework for fines. It is therefore in the discretion the respective authorityhow high the fine is to be applied.

Offense possible

Peeing wildly can even become a criminal offense. The Criminal Code (StGB) criminalizes sexual acts that intentionally or knowingly cause anger (ยง183a StGB). If you urinate unabashedly on the fence of a playground full of children, you can expect a criminal complaint from indignant parents.

Is there an emergency law?

But what to do when nature demands its rights? A Legal error is that there is a so-called emergency law. This should mean that everyone must make their private toilet available in an emergency. But this is not the case. The apartment is fundamentally protected. The inviolability of the home may only be interfered with in very serious cases. The urge to use the toilet is definitely not one of them. So if someone stands at your door and wants to use your toilet with reference to an emergency law, you can safely send them away.

Use of toilets in restaurants

So you will have no choice but to look for a public toilet. You can certainly ask about the toilet in a restaurant or department store. However, you should expect that you will have to pay a fee to use the quiet place. For example, restaurant operators can determine who they grant access to their sanitary rooms and under what conditions. It is therefore quite common for restaurant operators to charge one euro for the use of the toilet. As a rule that is pay but linked to the fact that it is not a consuming guest. Using the toilet in department stores usually also costs money. In return, you can usually look forward to clean toilets, as a responsible person wipes and cleans regularly.

Take care

Even if the toilet in the motorway parking lot doesn't necessarily invite you to linger. Think about those around you and the environment. If you pebble on a tree or in a bush, you will damage the plants. Urine can also damage buildings. It is accordingly significantly more expensive if you use the Ulm Minster as a pissoire than if you stand behind a tree in the city park. Since men are more likely than women to pee in the wild, some cities have so-called Outdoor pissoires set up. There you can pursue your human need in the open air without causing any public nuisance.