Punishments On Criminal Offenses in the UAE


The victim of the offense shall file a complaint against the accused of the criminal offense 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 order of the events wise concerning 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 complain is the one where actually the offense took place.

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


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

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


After the recording of the 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 medicine 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 with 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 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 the Arabic language. This report will be then signed by the parties.

If the public prosecutor thinks 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 the power to archive the case and no action shall be taken henceforth.


Under the UAE penal code, crimes are differentiated into three types based on the seriousness of the punishment that is concerning 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 the custody of the accused for at least 24 hours and which may last up to 10 days only along with the fine not exceeding 1000 Dihrams.
  2. Misdemeanor: Under the punishment of misdemeanor, the person will be punished in 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 consists 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 that are paid in form of punishment to the court by the accused are not the means of compensation to the victim, neither 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 a criminal offense. The language in which the proceedings of the court are conducted in Arabic. Owing to this, it is necessary to have all documents related to the proceedings be written in Arabic only to make them valid.

The courts are at three levels, i.e., the court of the first instance, the court of appeal, and finally the cessation court. The court of the first instance for cases of misdemeanor nature comprises a single-judge bench. On the other hand, the felony court comprises 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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