Dubai court jails drunk driver for injuring female pedestrian

Motorist was intoxicated and failed to see the woman sitting on the pavement

The driver escaped with one month in jail and will not be deported. The National
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A man has had his one-month jail sentence upheld by Dubai's Court of Appeal after he drove over a woman's legs while drunk, leaving her seriously injured.

The appeals courtheard the man's case last week and reduced the financial penalty handed down by the Dubai Traffic Court, which also found him guilty of fleeing the accident scene.

It cut the fine to be paid by the Indian man, 39, to Dh10,000, from Dh20,000, and revoked his deportation order.

On November 19, the man drove his Nissan Patrol out of the car park of a four-star hotel in Bur Dubai's Al Mankhool area at about 3.40am.

He was under the influence of alcohol and failed to see a woman sitting on the pavement with her legs stretched out into the road.

“We were in the car together when the incident happened,” the man's friend told the court. “He [the driver] stopped the car so I stepped out to check on the woman but he drove off.”

A witness told investigators that when the man stopped the car, he asked him to park his vehicle.

“I smelt the alcohol on him when I went to check on the woman, so I told him not to drive the car,” the witness said.

“When I picked up my phone to call police and [an] ambulance, he said he needed to park his car properly but, instead, drove away.”

After he was tracked down and arrested, the offender admitted to the charges during police questioning and in court.

The police did not reveal any more details about the woman.

What does the law say?

The UAE has a zero-tolerance policy to driving under the influence of alcohol, which is a criminal offence.

“According to Article 393 of UAE’s traffic law, offenders causing a road death can face between one month and three years in prison or a fine as decided by the court,” said Nida Al Masri, a legal consultant from Justitia Advocates and Legal Consultants.

“Usually, the penalty is a year in jail minimum if the offender is found guilty of drink-driving.

“However, judges resort to Article 100 of the law, which allows them to avoid issuing the one-year minimum sentence.

“The one-year minimum sentence is mandatory and cannot be revoked by any court of any level even on appeal, so resorting to Article 100 is the only way to avoid it.”

Ms Al Masri believes sometimes judges give a lenient sentence after they review the details and circumstances of the case.

“They would go lenient according to the details they see in the file and when it comes to, for example revoking a deportation order, it is to avoid punishing the offender’s whole family by sending him away,” she said.

“Judges take into consideration if offenders have jobs or families here when they make their decision. It all goes back to the judge's evaluation of the case.”

Updated: January 22, 2023, 5:43 AM