Punishments On Criminal Offenses in the UAE

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Dealing with a criminal case is certainly not an easy thing to do and would indeed require a criminal lawyer or legal professional on your side. The current article By Criminal Lawyers of Dubai will provide an elaborate explanation to the criminal offenses and their processes in the UAE.


The victim of the offense shall file a complaint against the accused for the criminal offense in order to initiate a proceeding. The complaint shall be inclusive of elements such as the explanation of the incident that occurred along with the list of the events order wise with respect to the criminal offense committed. The complaint should be recorded in writing by the police on an oral dictation by the complainant. It should be in Arabic language and signed by the complainant. The police station where the complainant can complaint is the one where actually the offense took place.

No specific fees is to be paid to the police for filing a complaint by the complainant.


An opportunity is given to the victim, in order to bring witnesses to testify in front of the police in-charge with the intention to support his or her case.

On the submission of the complaint by the complainant, the police officer will contact the accused so as to take the statement of the accused. As the police officer inquires the accused, he has an obligation on his part to inform the accused about his power to call those witnesses who he think will be testifying in favor of him. The police will then summon the witnesses in order to record their statements.


After the recording of statement, the next step involves the duty of the police officer to refer the complaint to the relevant department of the police station who will then be required to review and conceive the case. Such specialized departments are: the electronic crimes department or the forensic medical department.

After the case has been scrutinized by the police and the report has been made of the same and all the statements are recorded, the police will refer the case to the public prosecution. A public prosecutor is a judicial authority in the UAE who is vested with the power to transfer the case to the criminal court if he is satisfied of the fact that an offense has been committed under the UAE Penal Code i.e. the Federal Law No.3 of 1987.


A complainant will have to pay the professional fees to an advocate whom he wishes to hire as his attorney for the legal services provided by him.


Once the case has been referred to the public prosecutor from the police officer, he will be responsible for the following: firstly, he will have to summon the complainant and the accused separately; secondly, the public prosecutor will then interview both the parties separately; thirdly, it will have to provide an opportunity to both the parties in order to bring witnesses who could testify in favor of both of them respectively. The prosecutor will be assisted by a clerk who will be responsible to record the statement of both the parties and their witnesses in writing and that too in Arabic language. This report will be then signed by the parties.

If the public prosecutor is of the opinion that actually the crime has taken place, then he will summon the accused to be present in a criminal court. The public prosecutor is then responsible to provide the court with the relevant information regarding the crime that has taken place. On the other hand, if he believes that no case can be made up because of some lack, then he has a power to archive the case and no action shall be taken henceforth.


Under the UAE penal code, crimes are differentiated in three types on the basis of the seriousness of the punishment that is with respect to the crime committed. They are:

  1. Contraventions: In other words it means prohibition. The crime of contravention is an act or omission that is punishable under the UAE penal code with punishment which will amount to custody of the accused for atleast 24 hours and which may last upto 10 days only along with the fine not exceeding 1000 Dihrams.
  2. Misdemeanor: Under the punishment of misdemeanor, the person will be punished by one or more of the following ways: either he will be put in confinement or he has to pay a fine of more than 1000 Dihrams or will have to give Diyat, i.e. payment of Blood Money.
  3. Felonies: It is the most serious of them all. It consist of those offenses which will be punishable with either one or more of them: Diyat, i.e. payment of blood money, temporary imprisonment, life imprisonment or Death Penalty.


Fines which are paid in form of punishment to the court by the accused are not the means of compensation to the victim, neither it is used to settle the claims against the accused in civil matters, rather it is paid to the government of UAE.


The Dubai criminal court is vested with the power to either acquit or fine or imprison the ones who are accused of criminal offense. The language in which the proceedings of the court are conducted is Arabic. Owing to this, it is necessary to have all documents related to the proceedings be written in Arabic only in order to make them valid.

The courts are at three levels, i.e., the court of first instance, the court of appeal and finally the cessation court. The court of first instance for cases of misdemeanor nature comprise of a single judge bench. On the other hand, the felony court comprises of three judges. The accused have a time period of only 15 days to challenge the judgment of the lower court in the higher court.

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