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Arresting Orders Under The Uae Criminal Procedure Law

July 2017 - Crime. Legal Developments by Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants.

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It has been noticed that many of our colleagues based abroad are contacting us here in the UAE for their clients who were unfortunately arrested at one of the Airports in the UAE for some criminal charges. Their query usually relates to what the expected procedures are. 

It has been noticed that many of our colleagues based abroad are contacting us here in the UAE for their clients who were unfortunately arrested at one of the Airports in the UAE for some criminal charges. Their query usually relates to what the expected procedures are. 

In this article, we would like to provide a general idea on the procedures involved in light of Federal Criminal Procedure Law in two parts. In first part we will focus on criminal cases that are transferred to the courts and in the second part we will discuss the procedures that are to be followed before the judge in criminal matters.

A thorough study demonstrates that in the criminal procedure law, the arrest might take place mainly in three potential scenarios.

First is when the arrest order issued by Judicial Officers. The law provides the Judicial Officers with a discretionary power to order an arrest, for a maximum period of 48 hours in the following cases:

  1. In crimes
  2. While caught committing an offense in felonies that are not punished by fines.
  3. In felonies that are not punished by fines if the accused is under investigation or it is probable that he may possibly escape.
  4. In Felonies of fraud, theft, treasury, 'severe assault, resisting public force personnel by force, breaching public manners, as well as felonies related to weapons, ammunition, alcohol, and hazardous drugs.'

Such arrest orders could be issued in the presence or in absentia of the accused.

After getting the accused arrested, the Judicial Officers are most likely to refer them to the Public Prosecution within a period of maximum 48 hours. The Public Prosecution would have the right to decide whether to issue an arrest order or another order to keep him in detention for a longer period or to release him. This is in accordance with Article No. 47 of the same Criminal Procedures Law.

Article 101 of the same law indicates that the arrest order by the Public Prosecution would indicate the name of the accused, along with his or her profession, residence, nationality, accusation and the date of when he has to see the Public Prosecution. This would have to be signed by the Public Prosecution member and stamped with the authorized seal.

In most of these cases, Public Prosecution would issue the arrest order if the accused does not attend after he was allocated without a valid justification or it is feared that he would escape or does not have a known place of residence, or if he was caught in the act of the crime. The Public Prosecution member may issue surrender and detain order for the accused even if the event does not require pretrial detention.

Such arrest orders would be valid for only six months. However, they may be extended with approval of the Public Prosecution.

It is important to note here that someone getting arrested does not mean that the person will stay in jail. As, in many cases, the accused would be subjected to arrest for only 48 hours and until they meet the Public Prosecution, who then decides to either release them or keep them detained until the investigation is concluded.

On the other hand, for some accused the detention period until they meet the Public Prosecution might not be more than 24 hours. If this time elapses, he might be freed according to Article 104 of the same law. Therefore, the detention administration tend to refer the accused to the Public Prosecution for questioning immediately.

However, if the accused has not been released within the first 72 hours, it is sensible to expect that the Public Prosecution has issued a pretrial imprisonment order against the accused.

The Public Prosecution, ordinarily, has a discretionary power to issue the pretrial imprisonment order unless there is a special case described in different regulations and provisions.

After questioning the accused, the Public Prosecution member may issue a pretrial imprisonment order, if he or she is of the opinion that the evidence is satisfactory and the deed is a felony or crime that is punished and penalized by other than a fine.

The first pretrial imprisonment order issued by the Public Prosecution shall not be more than seven days, which could be extended for an additional two weeks. If the two weeks expire and the Public Prosecution believes that it is in the best interest of justice and the investigation to prolong the detention period, they might lengthen it for a further period. Henceforth, the matter has to be referred to one of the criminal court judges, who shall review the file and request for the attendance of the accused. The judge would then listen to the argument put forward by the accused and acquire his statement. Subsequently, the judge would then make a decision on the extension of the detention, for a period not exceeding 30 days renewable, or to release him on bail.

Bail decisions could be issued on the basis of a request from the accused or his attorney. Prior to transfer of the case to the court, the Public Prosecution in all stages of the investigation, has the right to make such decisions. This is an accordance with Article 111 of the UAE Criminal Procedures Law.

Common practice shows, that releasing the accused temporarily while the criminal investigation is still ongoing would require him or her to provide a suitable assurance that he or she will make an appearance any time the investigation entails his attendance. The accused has to provide a guarantee that he or she will do all that is necessary in accordance with the applicable laws. These fall under the conditional bail provisions.

However, the law did not strictly mention how this guarantee should be provided. More often than not, the common practice of guarantee here is retaining the passport of the accused as a guarantee that he or she will make a reappearance without fail. If, the passport of the accused is unavailable, then they would withhold the passport of either their family or friends. This guarantee could also be assured by holding a fixed deposit with the court cashier. Furthermore, they could also involve taking a guarantee from a solvent person in the form of an undertaking that this amount is guaranteed to be paid, if the accused breaches the release conditions.

Finally, as many people often feel offended when they are charged with a Criminal case, such as for financial crimes, physical violence, cyber crimes and so on. Some individuals think that they will receive compensation if they file a criminal case against the accused. However, that is not the case. In criminal cases the accused, if the guilt is proven, receives punishment accordingly. Even if the criminal court decides to fine the accused, the fine is payable to the court, not the victim. The victim will still have to file a separate case for claiming compensation from the accused.

The right of claiming money is given to the victim in the criminal procedure stage and before the judgment of the First Instance Criminal Court and the law did not put any general limit, maximum or minimum, for such amounts as its left to the discretionary power of the courts.